Former Punjab chief minister and Congress candidate from Amritsar Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday stressed the need for taking up confidence-building measures with Pakistan for making Amritsar an important trade centre, not only for the neighbouring country but for the entire Central and West Asia.
He also called for a comprehensive national drug policy to fight the scourge of drugs that is eating into the vitals of the young generation in Punjab.
Speaking at a function organised by the Rotary Club Amritsar here on Wednesday evening, Amarinder pointed out that Amritsar had been a flourishing trade centre prior to the partition. He said that it was essential that there are friendly relations between Pakistan and India as only then can trade routes remain open.
The former CM cautioned that both the countries need to be careful as the past experience has shown that whenever any attempt at confidence building measures, some serious incident of terror took place and the entire process got derailed.
"While we need to tackle such incidents with an iron hand, at the same time we must not let peace between the two countries become a casualty and whenever that happens we, the people of Punjab and particularly those living in border areas like Amritsar, get the worst affected", he maintained.
While hoping that the Congress-led UPA government will come to power at the Centre again, he cautioned against the jingoistic rhetoric of the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, saying the latter's approach is not peace-centric as he is often seen indulging in war-mongering.
"And that would be the worst thing to happen to the people of Amritsar as any possibility of the trade route opening up will be finished", he warned.
The function was presided over by the Amritsar district governor of the Rotary Club, GS Sekhon, and attended by S S Batra, Rajesh Arora, Rakesh Kapoor, Ravi Pathania and Pankaj Kapoor.