Srinagar: Emphasising that the success of bilateral talks would be possible only by mutual efforts, PM Manmohan Singh said that Pakistan should not allow its territory to be used for anti-India activities.
Speaking at the convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology in Srinagar, the Prime Minister admitted that relations between the two countries had been affected by the Mumbai terror attack of 2008.
"The Mumbai terror attack affected our relations... I had an important meeting with the Pakistan Prime Minister in Thimphu and he has assured me Pakistan will not allow its soil to be used for terrorism against India," he said.
He said that relations between the two countries can improve if Pakistan does not allow its soil to be used by anti-India forces.
He said good relations between India and Pakistan were necessary for peace and progress in the region, and added that ties between the two countries should be such that people live in peace and amity.
On Kashmir peace process
Spelling out his stand on the progress of peace process in J&K, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his visit to the valley said that he is ready to talk to any group that gives up violence.
“We are committed to peace in the valley, though efforts are still on from across the border to disrupt it,” he said.
Defending the role of the security forces he added that “Our Army is doing a good job at the frontier. However, they are forced to take action against the infiltrators and in the process sometimes innocents are trapped.”
On Education and Development
Speaking in chaste Urdu, the Prime Minister said though the central government had announced a slew of measures for economic development of the terror-riven state, "a lot still needs to be done".
He said the government was committed to implementing the recommendations of the five working groups he had formed after three round table conferences held in 2006 and 2007.
"We got many view points (from these round table conferences) and we will act on the recommendations of the working groups step by step," he said, amid loud applause from students at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.
In his address to the students of Sher-e Kashmir University, on his fifth visit to the valley, he stressed on the need of education and said that “ We have great expectations from the youth and we believe that in the coming years we will them with more opportunities.”
Protest in the Valley
Curfew-like situation prevailed throughout
Srinagar on Monday on the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
as authorities imposed prohibitory orders in several parts
of old city while a near-total shutdown was observed in rest
of the areas following a strike called by separatists.
Hundreds of police and paramilitary forces personnel were
seen patrolling the deserted streets in the old city areas as
authorities enforced Section 144 CrPC under four police
stations of Nowhatta, Khanyar, Safakadal and Maharajgun,
official sources said.
Life in the city remained disrupted as shops and business
markets, educational institutions and semi-government offices
remained closed. Traffic was off the roads in response to the
call given by chairman of hardline faction of hurriyat
conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani against the visit of the
Regarding the strike call, Geelani said, "India, instead
of looking at Kashmir through the viewpoint of its stooges,
should have first hand information of the ground situation
He said "We have no love for enforcing strike, which hits
our economy but there is no other option but to protest.
Today`s strike is in protest against Manmohan Singh`s visit to
Kashmir, continued human rights violations, Machhil fake
encounter, unidentified mass graves and military oppression".
Prime Minister who is on a two day visit to Kashmir, arrived in a special plane accompanied by wife Gursharan Kaur and union ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prithviraj Chauhan. Security was heightened and restrictions imposed in parts of this city in view of the shutdown.
T.K.A. Nair, principal secretary to the prime minister, Shiv Shankar Menon, the national security advisor, and Harish Khare, media advisor to Manmohan Singh, are also part of the delegation.
Governor N.N. Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, his father and union minister Farooq Abdullah received the prime minister.
The prime minister is expected to announce a Rs.200 crore package to revive the Kashmiri saffron industry, which is going through a downturn because of adulterated saffron flooding the markets.
He is scheduled to meet delegations of mainstream political parties in the evening. Manmohan Singh is also likely to renew his call to separatists to resume political dialogue with the central government.