Return of democracy in Pak can 'strengthen' Indo-Pak relations: PM

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Katra, Apr 25 (UNI) Hopeful of restoring peace between India and Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that with the return of democracy in the neighbouring country, both nations have a unique opportunity to join hands for a lasting era of peace and tranquility.

Addressing the First Convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU) at village Kakryal, some 13 kilometres from here, Dr Singh said, ''Everywhere people wish to be connected to their neighbours and this is true of the people of India and Pakistan including those living on both sides of Line of Control (LoC).'' ''The cross-LoC connectivity that has been established by our government has also contributed to a new sense of empowerment of the ordinary people,'' Dr Singh said asserting that an inspiration should be drawn from the success of the initiatives taken so far and move forward to strengthen the bonds that exist between the people on both sides of Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

''I would like to see lasting peace, tangible security and palpable stability in the state so that young people of the state and Ladakh region can look into the future with greater hope and confidence,'' said the Prime Minister, asserting, ''in the modern world of globalization, with the march of communications and technologies, borders have lost their old relevance.'' However, expressing his hopes of restoring peace between India and neighbouring Pakistan, Dr. Singh said, ''Like water, human sentiments in favour of peace and friendship also flow freely and true democracy is one in which such sentiments are able to find free expression.'' Dr Singh reached the Winter Capital of Jammu and Kashmir this afternoon. He is on a two-day official visit Jammu region. The Prime Minister also inaugurated the bridge on river Chenab at Akhnoor and reached Katra in the evening.

He would be staying at Raj Bhawan tonight and will leave for Kishtwar district tomorrow to inaugurate the 390 MW Dul-Hasti Project and address a public meeting.

UNI VBH PK HS1849

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