Describing it as a primary duty of the leadership of the two nations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday extended an invitation to Pakistan to work jointly for the welfare of people on both sides of the border.
“It’s our prime duty to work for the welfare of the people,” the Prime Minister said after inaugurating the run-of-the-river Baghlihar power project. “I extend an invitation to Pakistan to step forward and join hands to work mutually for the welfare of our peoples.”
Assuring the country’s commitment to the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), the PM said India will abide by all the clauses of the treaty, which confers Pakistan with monitoring rights on the use of waters of the three rivers — Jhelum, Chenab, Sindh — flowing from J&K to Pakistan.
“There would be no room for any complaint and also the work would be to the satisfaction of one and all,” said Singh.
Describing the project as a milestone in the history of the state, he said: “It is a giant stride and the state reserves huge hydro-power generating potential.”
He hoped the state would march further ahead on its path of development.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi accompanied the PM. Complimenting the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the occasion, she appealed to them to maintain peace and harmony. She desisted from referring to the happenings in the state but said: “Secularism is the driving force of our nation.”
With the capacity to generate 450 MW of hydro-power, the Baghlihar project will double power production from existing the 309 MW to 759 MW in the state.
The project is very crucial to ensure the sustainable development of the economy of the people of the state and will have installed capacity of 900 MW when complete.
Though two former chief ministers — Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Ghulam Nabi Azad — were present on the occasion, National Conference patron and the man who started the project, Farooq Abdullah, was conspicuously absent. His son, NC chief Omar Abdullah, for his part, walked out of the function as he was unhappy with the seating arrangement.