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We will discuss Kashmir with Pak, says PM

Last updated on: March 4, 2011 15:23 IST

'We have decided to resume the dialogue process'

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Maintaining that India will enter talks with Pakistan with an open mind, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the country wants to resolve all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, through dialogue and purposeful negotiations.

He also asked Pakistan to take resolute action against extremist groups operating in the country and leave no stone unturned in bringing to book perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

Referring to his recent statement in Parliament that the sub-continent will not realise its full development potential unless relations between India and Pakistan are normalised, he said, "Despite all the problems, we have decided to resume the dialogue process."


Image: A file photo of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani
Photographs: Reuters
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'We wish to resolve all outstanding issues'

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"We will enter these talks with an open mind. We wish to resolve all outstanding issues between two countries through friendly dialogues and purposeful negotiations. And this includes the issue of Jammu and Kashmir," he said in his address to the third convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology.

Voicing concern over the activities of extremist groups in Pakistan, he said, "We cannot forget what happened in Mumbai. I urge the government of Pakistan to leave no stone unturned to bring the culprits (of Mumbai attacks) to book".

"But I believe that there is a growing conviction in Pakistan, among the thinking segments of the population, that something serious needs to be done to curb the influence of these groups on Pakistani society and polity," he said.


Image: A file photo of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Photographs: Reuters
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'Pakistan should take strong and resolute action'

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"I urge Pakistan to take strong and resolute action against these groups that is in the interest of Pakistan, the region and the world at large," Dr Singh said.

Dr Singh said the Centre recognises the genuine political and emotional grievances of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"We will always keep the interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir in our minds. We are willing to discuss all issues that have a bearing on peace, dignity and well-being of the people of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.


Image: Policemen guard the Taj Mahal Hotel in south Mumbai, which was attacked on 26/11
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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'There are genuine grievances'

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"There is no way forward but a sustained dialogue and resolution of all problems under a constitutional framework that I believe has the flexibility to accommodate honourable and durable solutions for all," he said.

Referring to the initiative taken by the Centre in J&K, the prime minister said the visit of an all-party delegation to the state last year was intended to bring about a national consensus on some important problems.

"We recognise that there are genuine political, social and emotional grievances of the people. We are trying honestly to address these issues," he said.


Image: A group of women pray in Srinagar
Photographs: Reuters
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'Centre has set up special task forces'

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The problems of Jammu and Kashmir are complex and each region of the state -- Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh -- have their own problems which require attention, he said.

The prime minister said a group of interlocutors was appointed to facilitate a continuous dialogue with all sections of the people in the state.

Regarding development in J&K, he said, "As a part of our efforts to promote balanced development of Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre has set up special task forces on Jammu and Ladakh regions".


Image: Two men chat on the banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar
Photographs: Reuters
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'Adequate provision of funds, function and functionaries'

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While the reports of these task forces are being considered in consultation with the state government, the Centre has already made a budget provision of Rs 250 crore for implementation of the identified projects, he said.

"I am happy that state government has committed itself to the early conduct of panchayat elections," he said, adding this will deepen the roots of democracy and ensure greater public participation in governance.

"But these bodies can only function effectively if there is adequate provision of funds, function and functionaries. I urge the state government to take early action in this regard," he said.


Image: A policeman patrols Law Chowk in Srinagar
Photographs: Reuters
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