Omar for decreasing security forces in J&K



New Delhi: Stressing on "progressively" decreasing the footprints of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said conciliation and dialogue will always remain the best medium for seeking a solution to all contentious issues.

Omar spoke on a variety of issues at the Chief Minister's conference here, including Indo-Pak relations vis-a-vis Kashmir, withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and removal of 24 bunkers from Srinagar city in coming months.

He also sought a telephone connection between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir for strengthening the trade between the two sides.

In his speech, Omar said after three continuous summers of discontent, the state saw a peaceful 2011, which to a great extent, erased the painful memories of two decades of turbulence and unfolded the promise of a new beginning.

"I am hopeful that peace dividends achieved in the year 2011 will continue to percolate to the people, and usher in a new era of peace and development in the state," he said.

About the policies of the National Conference-Congress government, he said "it has been our firm belief that agitations and confrontations are no means to resolve the issues involving contrary positions. Conciliation and dialogue has, and will always remain, the best medium of seeking solution to all the contentious issues".

Welcoming the recent talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, he said "the state has been emphasising on the need for initiating the dialogue process and has welcomed the initiatives taken by the Central Government in this behalf."

PTI