Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday said Srinagar international airport is on papers only as no international flight operates from it with the result J&K’s link with the Central Asia has come to a halt. He said that J&K was having a close link through culture, language, heritage, roads with Central Asian cities like Tukistan, Kagikistan, Turkimistan etc.
“The international airport at Srinagar that currently exists only on papers, Unfortunately because of the cussed mindset of our neighbor on the western frontier that does not allow a direct flight from Srinagar to overfly their airspace, we have not been able to take advantage of this connect that was available to us. If Pakistan allows use of its airspace for international flights originating from Srinagar, the Srinagar airport can become an international airport in true sense”.
Addressing a three day conference on Cooperation, Development, Peace and Security in Central Asia at Kashmir University Omar said, “My association with Central Asia was extremely brief when I left the government at centre in 2002. As for as Kashmir is concern there is a deep historical association with central Asia. Our culture our heritage and language is much similar with central Asia but unfortunately the neighbours has not allowed us to take advantage for the historic relation or association that Kashmir has with Central Asia.
According to news agency KNS Omar said, “The policy for ministry of external affairs of connects Central Asia to be ideally suited for Jammu and Kashmir because almost in every aspect you will find the connection between us and Central Asia.
“A flight from Srinagar to couple of Central Asia capitals would be shorter than a flight from Srinagar to other city’s but unfortunately because of the mind set of our neighbors they does not allow direct flight form Srinagar.
He said, “People of state is interested to visit central Asia and the central Asian people or also willing to come to visit Kashmir .We hope new dispensation in Pakistan and the encouraging voice of Newly elected Prime Minster will strengthen the relation with India. He further said coming to central Asia through Pakistan, Afganstan is not easy but it is a challenge that we have to face, “he said.
Meanwhile While delivering his inaugural address at 3-day International Conference on Cooperative Development, peace and Security in Central Asia Challenges and Prospects at university of Kashmir on Saturday Salman Kursheed said, “A stable Afghanistan and Iran are critical to India’s energy security as these two countries can provide greater access to Central Asian region which has abundance of hydrocarbon wealth.
According to KNS, Salman said, “India has been closely watching the developments related to the peace process in Afganistan. We have been watching with care and close scrutiny the deployments of Doha (Qatar) about the possibility of a conversation and dialogue between the Taliban and Afghanistan”.
“We feel and we have said this to our friends, in the US and the European Union, that our collective decision which is very strongly endorsed in Afghanistan that the peace talks must be Afghan led and Afghan controlled,” he said.
The Minister said, ” It was not possible for anybody from outside to conjure successful peace architecture for Afghanistan or any other part of the world. I believe that the peace must come from within. Despite repeated invitations, India believes it must restrain itself to a point which is consistent with our philosophy and allow the Afghan people to choose their own destiny, “he said.