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PM makes fresh offer of dialogue in J&K, advocates bonhomie with Pak

india Updated: Jun 07, 2010 19:53 IST

Making a fresh offer of talks to those in Jammu and Kashmir who shun violence, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said attempts continued to be made from "across the Line of Control" to cause disturbances in the state. He also made it clear that meaningful talks with Pakistan, which could lead to resolution of "old issues", were possible only when its soil is not allowed to be used for terrorism against India.

Without naming Pakistan, Singh said it should help in creating an environment in which people from both sides of LoC could live in peace and harmony and work together. On the internal dimension of the Kashmir issue, he noted that three Round Table conferences were held in which civil society and political groups participated.

"We wish to carry forward the dialogue process (in Jammu and Kashmir). We are ready to hold talks with representatives of all sections (in the state) who shun violence," Singh said while addressing the convocation of Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology in Srinagar.

He said that following the Roundtable Conferences, five working groups were set up which gave several recommendations. "We are implementing them in a step-wise manner," Singh said, but did not elaborate. One of the Working Groups on reviewing Centre-State relations has recommended autonomy to the state.

Talking in the context of Pakistan, the Prime Minister said, "today, I would like to say to our neighbours across the Line of Control that they should help in creating an environment in which people from both the sides can live in peace and harmony and work together."

Pointing out that issues between India and Pakistan are well known, he said good neighbourly relations are in the interest of both the countries and necessary for peace and harmony, stability and development of the region.

He said the government would look at all possible measures to strengthen links between people on both sides of Line of Control. In this context, he mentioned consistent efforts being made to increase trade and commerce between different parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Prime Minister stated that relations between India and Pakistan over the last one-and-a-half years have been "under the shadow" of the terror attacks in Mumbai that took place on November 26, 2008.

Referring to his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Thimphu last month, he said "both the countries accepted that there is trust deficit between us" and they agreed that "this distance" must be reduced.

"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 to be used for acts of terror against India," Singh said. He said Gilani had assured him that Pakistan will not allow its soil to be used for terrorist activities against India.

Singh underlined that both India and Pakistan should "adopt effective ways of cooperation" to the benefit of their people as their destiny is linked to each other.