More cross-border routes will be opened: PM

April 25th, 2008 - 8:42 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Akhnoor (Jammu and Kashmir), April 25 ( IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday favoured opening more cross-border routes and said he would take forward the India-Pakistan dialogue process to a level where the two countries could work jointly to end their economic and other problems. The prime minister, in his 15-minute speech before a crowd comprising mostly of women and border residents, said he was happy at visiting the beautiful state.

“The dialogue process with Pakistan was confronted with certain difficulties because of the internal situation there,” he said in an oblique reference to the political turmoil and the growing threat of terrorism in Pakistan before the watershed Feb 18 elections.

“Now those hurdles have been removed with a new democratic government coming up there, and we hope to work jointly to overcome the problems facing the peoples of our two nations by respecting the borders of each other and working for bettering life of the people on either side of the border,” he said.

Manomhan Singh said a number of problem areas exist despite some headway the two countries have made in the past few years. “But much remains to be done and we should be clear that much cannot be done unless there is complete peace on the border. That is not there,” he said. He was referring to the ceasefire on the borders that has brought peace, but the continuing infiltration from across the border which remains a matter of concern.

“Our responsibilities have increased as both of us are democracies,” the prime minister said, and pointed out that a joint effort could help the two countries overcome the fallout of price-rise that was causing serious economic problems across the world.

He also said that more cross-border routes would be opened as he had promised at the start of the Srinagar-Muzzaffarabad bus service in April 2005. This is an “unstoppable march”, he added.

India, the prime minister said, wanted the Sialokote-Jammu road and Kargil-Skardu bus route to be opened, and the frequency of the bus services on the existing routes to be made weekly.

On the Round Table Conferences on Kashmir, Manmohan Singh said there were recommendations that the government would implement for the benefit of the people - including Kashmiri Pandit migrants, border migrants and refugees from the Pakistani Kashmir of 1947 and west Pakistan refugees.

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