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Peace process should be sincere: Sonia Gandhi
Tara Shankar Sahay in Srinagar and agencies | May 30, 2003 21:01 IST
The peace process initiated by India with Pakistan will have to be conducted with sincerity and honesty, Sonia Gandhi, Congress president, said on Friday.
In her inaugural address at the two-day conclave of Congress chief ministers in Srinagar, Gandhi said her party was committed to putting back Jammu and Kashmir on the track to tranquility.
She also said there was a need for creating more employment opportunities for the youth of the state.
Lauding the people of Jammu and Kashmir for participating in last year's assembly elections, despite threat to their lives, Gandhi said her party will make all efforts to bring back peace in the state.
Gandhi said the governments in Congress ruled states, especially in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Punjab, had made reservations in professional colleges for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir.
"Congress will make all efforts to ensure that these quotas in professional college are fulfilled in everyway," she said.
Several other Congress ruled states have pledged their support for the efforts of Jammu and Kashmir government for the revival of tourism, Gandhi said.
She said the Centre's Pakistan policy lacked 'clarity, consistency and conviction.'
"The central government's stand has vacillated from one extreme to another," she said. But despite such contradiction, she said, her party extended its broad and sustained support to the Centre on matters of national security, cross-border terrorism and on Indo-Pak relations.
Underscoring the Congress position was clear and unwavering, Sonia said, "We have all along believed that the door of diplomacy and the windows of dialogue with Pakistan should always be kept open and active."
She said multifarious contacts including on political, economic, cultural, education and sporting and other fronts should be fostered and continued.
"We were bitterly attacked for this position by the BJP during all recent assembly elections campaigns. But we have been steadfast in our principled stand. We have been vindicated," the Congress chief pointed out.
Referring to the assembly elections in November this year in five states, she said, I am confident that we will overcome the so-called anti-incumbency syndrome and the people of these states would give the Congress a renewed mandate for effective governance."
More reports from Jammu and Kashmir
Read about: The Road to Peace | Kargil Crisis