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PM hints at joint management of Kashmir

Jammu, July 15, 2007:

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has hinted at the joint management of Jammu and Kashmir in his speech at the Jammu University, where he received an honourary doctorate D.Lit (Doctor of Letters) here today.

Sticking to New Delhi's stand of no redrawing of borders, the PM reiterated, "Borders cannot be changed. They can be made irrelevant."

"There can be no question of divisions or partitions, but the Line of Control can become a line of peace with a freer flow of ideas, goods, services and people."

Hinting more at the joint management of the State divided by a ceasefire line between India and Pakistan, the prime minister said that the natural resources of the Jammu and Kashmir could be used for the benefit of all its people.

"We could, for example, use the land and water resources of the region jointly for the benefit of all the people living on both sides of the LoC. Similarly, there are vast opportunities to jointly work together for the mutual benefit of our people," Singh said.

However, the prime minister added that these things were possible only, when "terrorism and violence end permanently".

Stating that the dialogue with Pakistan seeks to end the bitter legacy of the last 60 years, and begin a new chapter in bilateral relations, the PM added that Jammu and Kashmir could become a symbol of India-Pakistan cooperation rather than of conflict.

"We'll also continue our dialogue with Pakistan, despite difficulties, in this spirit because I genuinely believe that there is no alternative but to work for building peace" he added.

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