Pre-conceived mindset needs to be changed: Baig

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Mumbai, Feb 11 (UNI) Holding tourism to be the most solidifying coherent element next to language, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig said that it would be the most fiercely competed sector along with Information Technology in the next couple of decades.

''People can't help tourism. The issue is not primarily tourism, it is the search to explore the unknown. People want to know different challenges, unexplored terrain and unknown languages. So it is the process of yearning to know more that drives tourism,'' he said here late last evening while addressing a seminar on ''Kashmir: A dream Destination Awaits You,'' organised by the Travel Agents Society of Kashmir (TASK).

Allaying the apprehensions that tourists were not safe in the state, Mr Baig, who also holds the tourism portfolio, said that those who raise the bogey of terrorism or consider it as a handicap have a pre-conceived mindset, which needs to be changed.

''At times in many parts of the world peace gets shattered.

Kashmir has certainly been under cloud for some time, but today it is as safe as any other place in the country could be,'' he assured the gathering.

Stating that peace was essential for tourism and vice-versa, Mr Baig said that a ''state of despair and helplessness'' had been a major factor in the past in driving away the tourists to this one of the most sought after tourist destination in the world.

''A right kind of beginning has to be made. As the development takes place, it will catch with peace and security,'' he observed.

The Deputy Chief Minister said that there are always voices of discontent, however, the interest of tourism undoubtedly comes first and then come the political compulsions.

He admitted that the state was lacking in infrastructure, but added that it was still not a hopeless situation.

Expressing hope that the wall of ''hatred'' between the two South Asian neighbours, India and Pakistan, was bound to demolish, the Deputy Chief Minister said that even Pakistan, cannot afford the burden of ''gin of violence'' on its shoulders any longer.

''Militancy has to end one day, and India and Pakistan are bound to come together. Pakistan is getting weakened from inside and they will no more tolerate this gin,'' he said.

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