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June 7, 2000
PM reiterates desire for peace with PakMukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee reiterated India's desire for friendship with Pakistan on Wednesday.
After performing Sindhu Pujan and inaugurating the Sindhu Darshan Festival 2000, he said, "Our endeavours will succeed, though it may take some time."
"Let the gushing Sindhu carry friendship to Pakistan," he said at Leh this morning. He said "India need not reiterate its yearning for friendship with Pakistan."
Saying the Sindhu (Indus) was a river of friendship, he hoped, "Its currents will carry the message of peace, brotherhood, co-operation and tranquillity wherever it flows." The Indus, he said, symbolises 5000 years of the great Indian civilization and its rediscovery would strengthen emotional integration in the country.
He referred to the mention of the Indus in the national anthem and said, "Many did not know it flows in our land, here in Ladakh."
The prime minister said he felt "overwhelmed to touch the Sindhu's waters this morning which refreshed every Indians' past" and dwelt on the river's history and its place in the Rig Veda.
He quoted from the Vedas: "Sindhu, in might, surpasses all the streams that flow... His roar is lifted up to heaven above the earth. He puts forth endless vigour with a flash of light... Even as cows with milk rush to their caves, so other rivers roar into the Sindhu. As a warrior king leads other warriors, so does the Sindhu lead other rivers... Rich in gold, nobly fashioned, rich in ample wealth..."
The prime minister announced that the five-billion-rupee tunnel project at the Rohtang Pass would be completed in seven years. It would aid the development of the Ladakh region and also meet defence requirements.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani said he wished that someone like General Pervez Musharraf had dipped his hands in the Indus at Sakhar Barrage this morning when the Vajpayee touched the waters in Leh as a sign of friendship.
But that wasn't possible since some people in Pakistan had not reconciled to the decision of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to accede to India, he said, adding that he still hoped Islamabad would respond to India's peace moves.
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