LoC should be made 'line of peace': PM
Making it clear that there was no question of division or fresh partition of Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday hoped the militancy-hit state becomes a symbol of cooperation between India and Pakistan and the Line of Control a line of peace.
"Our dialogue with Pakistan seeks to end the bitter legacy of the last 60 years, and begin a new chapter in our bilateral relations. I hope and believe that Jammu and Kashmir can, one day, become a symbol of India-Pakistan cooperation rather than of conflict," the Prime Minister said at a convocation at the Jammu University.
"As I have stated earlier, borders cannot be changed, but they can be made irrelevant. There can no be question of divisions or fresh partitions, but the Line of Control can become a line of peace with a freer flow of ideas, goods, services and people," he said after receiving the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa).
The Prime Minister, however, said this could happen once terrorism and violence end permanently. "...Real political power in a democracy comes from the ballot box, not the barrel of a gun. We are firm in our resolve to fight terrorism and to end the black mail of terror in this peace-loving State.
"We are committed to winning the hearts and minds of all. We will never allow anyone to stop the heartbeat of peace-loving people in whatever cause," he said.
Singh said the Centre would continue its dialogue process with Pakistan "despite difficulties" as it genuinely believed that there was no alternative but to work for building peace.
The Prime Minister chose the occasion to express regret over absence of separatist leaders from the Roundtable Conference (RTC) on Kashmir.
"I am sorry that some groups have so far opted to stay away. I hope they will come to recognize the historic significance and the transparent sincerity of the Roundtable process and will join it in future," Singh said while terming RTC as an effective platform for addressing concerns of people of the state.
Hurriyat Conference and other main separatist groups have not attended the three RTCs held so far since last year. The Prime Minister said he was awaiting the report of the fifth working group on Centre-State relations. "I hope this report will also address the issue of effective devolution of powers among different regions within the State.
He said aspirations of all sections of the people in each of the three regions -- Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh -- must be taken into account, and a common understanding reached on ways of meeting all these aspirations.
"I believe it is possible to pursue the development of a united State of Jammu and Kashmir even while respecting and addressing the legitimate aspirations of the people of each of the three regions," Singh said.
Emphasising on his dream of "Naya Kashmir", the Prime Minister said the people of Jammu and Kashmir were the stakeholders and it was through their energetic participation it would come true.