Terrorism thwarted India's most dynamic phase with Pak: PM
The most productive and fruitful association with Pakistan was during 2004-07 when "militancy and violence began to decline," PM Manmohan Singh said, but lamented that the progress achieved was "repeatedly thwarted by acts of terrorism". Speech highlightsindia Updated: Oct 28, 2009 16:17 IST
The most productive and fruitful association with Pakistan was during 2004-07 when "militancy and violence began to decline," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Wednesday, but lamented that the progress achieved was "repeatedly thwarted by acts of terrorism".
Without referring to former president Pervez Musharraf, who was in power then, Manmohan Singh said there was actually a feeling then that "durable and final peace" was achievable.
"We had the most fruitful and productive discussions ever with the government of Pakistan during the period 2004-07 when militancy and violence began to decline. Intensive discussions were held on all issues including on a permanent resolution of the issue of Jammu & Kashmir," said the prime minister in Anantnag before flagging off a train service linking the south and north of Jammu and Kashmir for the first time.
"For the first time in 60 years, people were able to travel by road across the Line of Control (LoC). Divided families were re-united at the border. Trade between the two sides of Kashmir began," he said.
"In fact, our overall trade with Pakistan increased three times during 2004-07. The number of visas that we issued to Pakistanis doubled during the same period. An additional rail link was re-established."
Manmohan Singh said these were not small achievements given the history of India's troubled relationship with Pakistan.
"Inside the valley, as militancy declined, trade, business and tourism began to pick up. We were moving in the right direction. For the first time there was a feeling among the people that a durable and final peace was around the corner."
But the prime minister maintained that all the progress achieved was put paid by acts of terror.
"However, all the progress that we achieved has been repeatedly thwarted by acts of terrorism. The terrorists want permanent enmity to prevail between the two countries. The terrorists have misused the name of a peaceful and benevolent religion," he said.
"Their philosophy of hate has no place here. It is totally contrary to our centuries old tradition of tolerance and harmony among faiths."
He hoped the Pakistan governmemt would take the "ongoing actions" against terrorist groups "to their logical conclusion".
"They should destroy these groups wherever they are operating and for whatever misguided purpose."