Gen's Kashmir Plan In Mind, PM Says All Ideas Welcome, Shut Out Past
20 December 2006
The Indian Express
Amritsar: Welcoming 'new ideas' from Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that both countries need to put 'the past behind' and work together with an 'open mind' to build trust since their destiny is interlinked. 'Last week, I read about some new ideas and thoughts expressed from Pakistan,' Singh told a public meeting here in an apparent reference to President Pervez Musharraf's formula to resolve the Kashmir issue which included demilitarisation and joint management of the undivided state. 'We welcome all ideas as they contribute to the ongoing thought process,' he said, adding if both sides approach issues with an 'open and friendly mind, and work together on resolving each of these, then it will be possible for us to resolve all pending issues through a dialogue process.' Speaking in chaste Punjabi, Singh said 'I am sure that we can overcome all hurdles in our path and realise' a treaty of peace, security and friendship which he suggested in March this year. 'We need to think about our collective destiny, a destiny where both neighbours can work jointly towards a better future for their citizens. If our minds are determined and focussed on this goal, I am confident that this destiny can be realised.' He said a treaty of peace, security and friendship was essential as it would become the instrument for realising 'our collective destiny and the basis for enduring peace and prosperity in the region.' Saying he too has a 'vision' regarding India and Pakistan, Singh said he hoped relations between the two countries will become friendly and generate an 'atmosphere of trust'. In the context of Punjab, he said a number of initiatives have been taken for the benefit of the border state. He referred to the launch of bus services between Amritsar and Lahore and Amritsar and Nankana Sahib. 'I am confident that if we continue on this path of peace, then Amritsar can once again regain its glory as a major centre of trade and commerce. I believe that this is possible and we will make it happen. This is not a dream, it can be a reality,' he said.