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India, Pak should work together for new future: PM
December 20, 2006 14:47 IST
"In the last few days, many suggestions have come and I welcome all of them with an open mind. We can create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility through mutual consultations and co-exist peacefully", he told a public meeting in Amritsar.
Addressing the meeting after laying the foundation stone for five projects ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab, he said, "both the countries should forget the past and think of a new future and work together for that".
Singh's remarks were an apparent reference to the four-point formula proposed by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to resolve Kashmir issue which includes demilitarisation and joint control of the troubled state. The Prime Minister said that he has a dream that the relations between the two countries should improve to such an extent that there could be an agreement possible on peace, friendship and security. "It is my firm belief that such an agreement is possible by keeping aside small obstacles", Singh said adding that for the development of border areas such a pact is necessary.
Expressing concern that the border districts have lagged behind in terms of infrastructure and development, Singh said the key to the turnaround in their lives lay in promoting the trade between two communities across the border.
"Given the hard working and industrious nature of the people of Punjab, I am sure cities such as Amritsar, Batala, Jalandhar and Ludhiana will be on the industrial map of the country," he said after laying the foundation stone of five projects including 600 MW power project at Govindwal Sahib and four-laning of Amritsar-Wagah road.
Handing over the keys of historic Gobindgarh Fort to the Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Singh said, "I know people have a special place for this historic fort in their hearts and it gives me pleasure to hand it over to the people who, I am sure, will cherish it for its cultural and historical importance."
On gurdwaras in Pakistan, the prime minister said, "The government is aware of the desire of Sikhs to pay obeisance there and in the last two-and-a-half years, we have been working towards it."
"The relations between India and Pakistan have improved and bus services between Amritsar-Lahore and Amritsar-Nankana Sahib are continuing. Because of this, the trade has also increased and the people of Amristar have benefited from this," he said.
Singh, who shares an emotional bond with Amritsar, as it was this place that his family came and settled after partition said, "Amritsar will again become a prominent centre of trade... It is not just a dream but my firm belief."