Dialogue With Pakistan Will Lead to Kashmir Settlement

Srinagar, Oct 23: The chief minister of Indian administered Kashmir Omar Abdullah Saturday said dialogue with Pakistan will lead to settlement of the Kashmir issue.

“The long term and permanent solution to the Kashmir issue is likely to emerge by an active engagement with Pakistan. The Cross-LoC trade between two parts of Kashmirs being administered by India and Pakistan and the bus service between the two sides will not yield further if we do not continue with the external dialogue process,” Omar said while addressing the National Development Council (NDC) meeting in Indian capital New Delhi today.

“The relative peace in Kashmir and the present global scenario provides an opportunity to move further on the dialogue process,” Omar said and he reiterated that the economic growth of Kashmir is inextricably linked with the political solution of the grievances and aspirations of its people.

“The outcome of political roadmap will have great significance on the confidence of the investors also. In very brief terms, Kashmir needs to be transformed from a ‘securitized’ narrative to a political one. This requires widening of the dialogue process – both internal as well as external,” Omar said adding the appointment of interlocutors by the Indian government was a very welcome step.

The chief minister said with the perceptible improvement in the overall situation, the development is increasingly being seen as a vital entry point for consolidating peace dividends. “The outlook today is that of a hopeful optimism. While there is positive appreciation of the need of dialogue and reconciliation, imperatives of equitable development and good governance have come to occupy an important place in public discourse in Kashmir,” he said.

Declaring physical connectivity as a fundamental requirement for participative economy and inclusive growth, the Chief Minister underlined the importance of dependable road, rail and air systems. “Unfortunately we have one of the poorest road connectivity in India, which jeopardizes the normal life in the extreme weather conditions,” he said.

Highlighting the importance of transforming Srinagar Airport into International Airport in letter and spirit, Omar said, “Srinagar Airport should be converted exclusively into a civilian airport so that Haj and other international flights are operated from here regularly.”

Fayaz Wani
Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.