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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

PM's visit falls short of expectations

Tarun Upadhyay, Hindustan Times  Jammu, June 27, 2013
First Published: 12:33 IST(27/6/2013) | Last Updated: 12:36 IST(27/6/2013)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the state, even as he has been visiting regularly, probably for the first time didn't leave much impact on the state polity and the India-Pakistan relations.

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Manmohan Singh, who last visited the state in March 2011, made his 11th visit to the state after becoming prime minister in 2004. The PM in his every visit had been using the platform to strengthen the India-Pakistan relations and also to improve democratic institutions in the state.

"It was short of expectations. One had had thought of him carrying forward the peace process with Pakistan but it didn't happen. The killing of eight jawans before this visit also had an impact but the state government's repressive measures, which resulted in deserted streets, were also responsible for it," said PDP spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar.

Just three-day before the PM's visit, BJP's prospective prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had invoked former prime minister AB Vajpayee to reach out to Kashmir. The air was filled with speculation that Manmohan Singh would go further from here to strike a conciliatory note both with the people of Kashmir and Pakistan.

The PM who had in his visit to state in 2007 had gone to the extent of saying that J&K will become symbol of India-Pakistan cooperation rather than of conflict. Surprisingly he didn't say anything in his speech both in Jammu and Kashmir.

"People had much expectation from him. We all expected him to say about strengthening of India-Pakistan relations. One of the reasons could be the death of jawans in the terrorist attack. But the fault lies with the state government, which didn't act in a mature manner," said former union minister and MLA Chaman Lal Gupta.

The CM while attending function at Kishtwar had asked the NHPC to hand over the power projects and also on Wednesday said revocation of Article 370 is not possible and any attempt by anyone on this sensitive issue would be "on our dead bodies".

The PM, during his earlier visits, had not only talked about peace and end of terrorism but had also announced economic packages and had shown concern over the plights of Kashmir Pandit migrants and also refugees of west Pakistan and for PoK.

But this time he didn't touch any of these issues.

However, the National Conference believes that the visit was successful. "It was a successful visit. In a meeting with an NC delegation, he even said the party resolution on autonomy is being considered and was also very optimistic about India-Pakistan relations," said Aslam Wani, NC MLA and party provincial secretary.

The only categorical and important comment the PM made was his resolve to fight terrorism, but even then he didn't even mention about Pakistan.

The PM had confined his visit about development projects and rail links.

"The PM has been sensitive to the needs of the people of the state. The rail link he inaugurated would ensure better link between the Valley and Jammu and also the hydel project would help us in overcoming our energy needs. It was quite a successful visit," said Congress spokesperson Ravinder Sharma.

What PM said during his earlier visits

July 2007, Jammu: For six years, we have lived in tension and periods of violence, both internally and in our relations with Pakistan. I hope and believe that J&K, one day will become symbol of India-Pakistan cooperation rather than of conflict.

April 2008, Katra: Would like to see lasting peace in the state. Terrorism constitutes a threat to peace, stability and progress of entire nation. The PM had announced packages for KP migrants and for refugees from west Pakistan and PoK. Talked about opening up of Kargil-Skardu and Jammu-Sialkote routes.

Oct 2008, Srinagar: There is some resentment towards government among a section of youth. We can't change borders but can make them irrelevant.

June 2010, Srinagar: There are a handful of people who don't want any political process to succeed. I would like to say to our neighbours across the LoC that they should help create an environment in which people from both sides can live in peace and harmony and work together.

Mar 2011, Jammu: We wish to resolve all outstanding issues between two countries though friendly dialogue and constructive and purposeful negotiations and this includes J&K… Having said that we can't forget what happened in Mumbai and I urge the government of Pakistan to leave no stone unturned to bring culprits to the book.


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