Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has asked the Centre to be tough with China and Pakistan in its resolve to sort out the issue of the border intrusions in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We would like the Government of India to take up this issue [of the border intrusions] with both China and Pakistan strongly and on same terms so that no such incident takes place in future”, Mr. Abdullah said while addressing a public meeting in Bani area of Kathua district, around 200 km from here, on Wednesday. He said that the Centre needed to an “unambiguous stand” equally with both the neighbouring countries.

Mr. Abdullah said that people of Jammu, Kashmir, Leh, Kargil and other areas had made sacrifices to protect and preserve the solidarity, harmony and brotherhood in all the territories of the geo-politically sensitive border state. “They want to be free from such intrusions and live in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity and carry out their day-to-day life activities without any interference from outside”, he asserted.

The J&K State, he said, had suffered considerable damage to its economy and infrastructure over the last 23 years of the armed strife. Thousands of lives had been lost and properties perished. He said the gun culture had given the people in J&K deep wounds and added to hardships and miseries in every sphere of life. “Now we are on the process of restoring peace and tranquillity and a beam of light is in sight at the end of the dark tunnel”, he said.

Mr. Abdullah praised the people of the rugged hilly terrain — once a hotbed of militancy — for keeping the torch of communal harmony and brotherhood aflame even in extremely difficult conditions. He urged the audiences to remain vigilant against the attempts of parochial and divisive forces “who are bent upon dividing you on the lines of region, religion, creed and caste for their selfish ends.”