End violence, PM tells Kashmiris and Maoists

New Delhi, Aug. 15: The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Sunday expressed optimism about resolving the Kashmir and Maoist problems without compromising basic principles or softening his position.

His appeal to Kashmiri youths and separatists as well as Maoists to come forward for talks does not, however, dilute the government’s stance in any way; in fact, it reaffirms the Centre’s long-held policy that any such talks be on the basis of Kashmir being “an integral part of India”, and in the case of Naxalites, that they first abjure violence.

Addressing the nation on India’s 64th Independence Day from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort here, and in the backdrop of the recent unrest in Kashmir, Dr Singh said India’s democracy had the “generosity and flexibility” to add-ress concerns of any of the groups.

In his 35-minute speech, the Prime Minister also said India was willing to resolve all its differences with Pakistan through discussions, but added that such a dialogue cannot go very far if terrorism emanating from that country does not end immediately.

“In Jammu and Kashmir, we are ready to talk to every person or group which abjures violence. Kashmir is an integral part of India, and within this framework we are ready to move forward in any talks which would increase the partnership of the common man in governance and also enhance their welfare.”

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