An appeal to the people of Jammu and Kashmir

August 15th, 2008 - 1:13 pm ICT by ANI  

Brothers and Sisters,

I have said on a number of occasions that I am greatly concerned about the problem of regional imbalances in development. Some parts of our country are doing much better than others. Some States are being left behind. This pattern has persisted for far too long. We must ensure that the less developed States catch up with the developed ones.

We must pay special attention to the development of the northeastern region. Our Government has taken several initiatives to increase public investment in the northeast and in Jammu and Kashmir. We are investing in infrastructure and in education in these regions to encourage development and generate employment.

Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern region require an era of peace for them to catch up with the more developed parts of the country. We have been taking various initiatives to promote peace and stability in these States. These initiatives will be taken forward.

The recent incidents in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are a cause for concern. In this hour of crisis, divisive politics will lead us nowhere. I appeal to all political parties to keep the long-term interests of Jammu and Kashmir in view and come together to find a permanent solution to the problems of the state.

The sacred shrine of Shri Amar Nath inspires all Indians to march together. This shrine is a shining example of our secular tradition, where Hindu pilgrims have been looked after for years by their Muslim brothers. Issues related to this sacred place, especially the issue of providing the best possible facilities to pilgrims, can only be resolved in an atmosphere of peace and goodwill. Dividing people in the name of religion can complicate these issues further which can also pose a threat to the unity and integrity of the country. I appeal to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to cooperate with us in establishing peace in the state. It is my conviction that all issues can be resolved only through dialogue and peaceful means.

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