Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the government is willing to talk to anyone for peace in Jammu and Kashmir. The public sentiment is for peace and peaceful resolution of all problems and the era of violence and terrorism is coming to an end.

“When I came to office in 2004, I said our government is committed to having unconditional dialogue with whoever abjures violence. We had discussions with different groups. We had a number of round table conferences. All issues were discussed. We tried to give voice to the demands of all sections of the people. We have implemented a number of initiatives as a result of this process,” he said at a public meeting here.

“I wish to say again today that we are willing to talk to anyone who has any meaningful ideas for promoting peace and development in Kashmir. We want to carry all sections of the people with us in resolving the political and economic problems of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Dr. Singh lauded the State people for taking part in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. “I am happy that people turned out to vote in large numbers. I believe that it was a vote for a peaceful path to a better tomorrow. I applaud the wisdom and good faith of the common man of Kashmir. The elected government has a golden opportunity to consolidate the peace in the State.”

In the last five years, the Union government had taken a number of steps to bring development to the State.

“We have tried to revive the traditional connectivity between the people of the region. We took the bold step of reviving the movement of goods and people across the Line of Control on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road and on the Poonch-Rawalakot road. I am happy to announce that the Central government has decided to fund the additional cost of Rs. 385 crore to build the heritage Mughal Road that will connect Shopian with remote areas of Poonch and Rajouri,” he said.

Reaches out to Pakistan

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday sought to reach out to Pakistan by asking it to carry forward the hand of friendship extended by India. This, he said, was in the interest of people of both nations. He impressed upon Islamabad to dismantle the terror infrastructure on its soil.

New Delhi was always for peace and he strongly believed that the majority of people in Pakistan sought good neighbourly and cooperative relations with India. “They seek a permanent peace. This is our view as well. As I have said many times before, we will not be found wanting in our response.”

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