Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh Monday renewed his offer of dialogue to all those groups who shun violence in Jammu and Kashmir while urging Islamabad to help create an environment in which people from both sides can live in peace.
Addressing the 5th convocation of the Sheri Kashmir University of Agriculture, Science and Technology at the heavily guarded international conference centre Dr. Singh said, "We wish to carry forward the process of dialogue and we are ready to hold talks with the representative of any group which shuns violence and terror."
He urged neighbouring Pakistan to 'help in creating an environment in which people from both the sides can live in peace and harmony and work together.' Dr Singh said that the Pakistani Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani has 'assured me that Pakistan will not allow its soil to be used for terrorist activities against India'.
"Meaningful talks between the two countries, which can lead to a resolution of old issues, are possible only when Pakistan doesn't let its territory be used for acts of terror against India," the prime minister said.
"Our issues with Pakistan are well known. Good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan are in the interest of both the countries. At the same time they are necessary for peace and harmony, stability and development of our region. The relations between the two countries over the past one and a half years have been under the shadow of the terror attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. As you are aware, I met the Prime Minister of Pakistan in Thimpu last month. Both the countries accepted that there is a trust deficit between us. We also agreed that this distance between the two countries must be reduced."
"The destiny of our people is linked to each other. Therefore both the countries should adopt effective ways of co-operation to the benefit of the people of the two countries. A strong, stable and prosperous Pakistan is in the interest of our whole region," he added.
"We have tried our best to promote movement of people and trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkot roads. We now want to take similar steps for the Kargil-Skardu route. You may recall that when I inaugurated the Muzaffarabad bus service, I had hoped that it would just be the beginning. We have been consistently trying to increase trade and commerce between different parts of Jammu and Kashmir. We want to look at all possible measures to strengthen links between people on both sides of the Line of Control."
The prime minister while speaking on the sensitive issue of human rights said that 'the government policy is to protect the human rights of the people even when dealing with terrorism'. "The security forces in Jammu and Kashmir have been strictly instructed to respect the rights of the civilians. We will act to remove any deficiency in the implementation of these instructions."
"Our security agencies are forced to act in the wake of terrorist incidents. During the process sometimes innocent civilians have to suffer, but whenever such incidents happen it becomes necessary to act against those responsible for them."
Tight security arrangements greeted Singh when he arrived in Srinagar on Monday afternoon. Police pickets were erected at various places to combat threats from terror groups. This is Singh's second visit to Jammu and Kashmir after being reelected as prime minister for a second consecutive term in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. He visited Srinagar in last October.
Reiterating that there were some elements and organizations only interested in fomenting trouble in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Monday praised the armed forces, and particularly the Army, for defending the country's borders. Singh backed the Army's role, saying that it was doing a good job in defending the nation's frontiers. He said the army has been forced to take action against elements who were determined to create instability in the state, including infiltrators.
To ensure that rights of civilians in Jammu and Kashmir are taken care of by the security forces while operating against the militants, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday assured government's action if any violation takes place.
"I am aware of some complaints related to human rights. On this issue, the government policy is to protect the human rights of the people even when dealing with terrorism," Dr. Singh said while addressing a public gathering at the start of his two-day visit to the Kashmir Valley.
"The security forces in Jammu and Kashmir have been strictly instructed to respect the rights of the civilians. We will act to remove any deficiency in the implementation of these instructions," he added.Reiterating that there were some elements and organizations only interested in fomenting trouble in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Singh praised the armed forces, and particularly the Army, for defending the country's borders.
The Prime Minister backed the Army's role, saying that it was doing a good job in defending the nation's frontiers. He said the army has been forced to take action against elements who were determined to create instability in the state, including infiltrators.He candidly admitted that in the process of this aggressive response to terror, innocents got trapped.He said that his government is committed to promoting peace in Jammu and Kashmir, and ready to talk to any group that abjured violence.