We need good relations with Pakistan: Omar Abdullah

January 9th, 2009 - 4:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Jan 9 (IANS) Omar Abdullah, on his first day in office as Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Friday said forces opposed to India-Pakistan friendship would “have to be defeated” and that his government would try to bring unity in the state. “I would in my capacity continue to advise caution and continue to advise that the enemy is not Pakistan but the forces in Pakistan inimical to friendship between the two countries. It is those forces who have to be defeated and not Pakistan,” Abdullah told reporters.

Ties between the two countries have come under severe strain following the Mumbai terror attack for which India has blamed terrorists from Pakistan.

But Abdullah said: “Good relations with Pakistan are required for the state to progress.” He noted that “tensions with Pakistan will neither benefit India nor Pakistan.”

He said peaceful elections and a huge voter turnout in the state assembly polls last year, which saw his National Conference party come to power in alliance with the Congress, were a “message from the people of the state to the rest of the country and the world that Jammu and Kashmir was ready to receive tourists.”

Abdullah underlined the need to live up to the people’s expectations. “My government would be for unity and bridging the gap,” he said on a perceived divide between the Kashmir and Jammu regions after last year’s Amarnath land row.

The chief minister said: “Unemployability more than unemployment is the problem being faced by Jammu and Kashmir, and steps will be initiated to address that problem”.

He also said conditions conducive for dialogue between separatists and the central government would be created.

He termed the Israeli strikes on Gaza as “unfortunate”, saying “violence cannot solve any issue.”

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