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Why can’t we be partners in CPEC and move beyond skirmishes: Mehbooba

Says Implementation of AoA can begin with revocation of AFSPA

Reiterates call for dialogue with all ideologies   

 

New Delhi: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday described Kashmir as the ‘Gateway to Central Asia’ and asked that why can’t the state be a part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The CM while strongly advocating for opening of more routes across the Line of Control (LoC), also asked for the initiation of the political process to address the volatile situation of the state.

Mehbooba, while speaking during a national seminar in New Delhi also pointed out that opening of routes across LoC will ‘enhance’ peoples’ stake in the peace process.

“It would make the region a hub of emerging economic opportunities leading to cooperation in trade, commerce, tourism, adventure etc. across the region”, she added.

The session was chaired by Governor Governor, N N Vohra and other speakers included Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana ESL Narsimhan and Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Raman Singh.

Calling J&K the gateway to Central Asia, Mehbooba  asked that why can’t we reap the benefits of projects like the CPEC.

“Why can’t we be partners in economic growth and share the benefits of projects like CPEC. Let us move beyond skirmishes”, she told a gathering of top intellectuals, academicians and public policy planners who were attending the seminar from different parts of the world.

The Chief Minister also reiterated her call for dialogue with all shades of ideologies and undertaking more Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).

“Any grievance if left unattended bleeds the whole system”, she said while appealing to build a constituency for peace and dialogue across the country.

Mehbooba also said that the ‘Agenda for Alliance’ has the backing of the ‘whole country’ and everything agreed upon will be implemented in a phased manner.

She said that the implementation could begin with revocation of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA).

“We should not shy away from taking bold steps like AFSPA revocation from certain areas to begin with”, she said adding that experiences have shown that governance alone cannot win over people and it has to be backed by a substantive political process on the ground.

Hailing former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s inclusive vision with regard to Kashmir, Mehbooba said that the former PM addressed the internal as well as external challenges confronting the state which transformed into a peaceful environment.

“In this context when late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed raised the demand of opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road in 2003, it was positively reciprocated and consequently the graph of violence in the State fell down and focus shifted on good governance, Mehbooba added.

CM expressed optimism that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is credited with taking very bold decisions, would follow Vajpayee’s vision to usher the state and the region into an era of peace, stability and prosperity.

Replying to a question from the audience, Mehbooba favoured inclusion of more goods in the cross LoC trading list. She said her Government is also working on providing proper banking facilities for cross LoC trading.

With inputs from KNS

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