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Srinagar international airport exists only on papers: Omar
SRINAGAR, June 29: Chief minister Omar Abdullah today said Srinagar international airport only exists on papers and hoped that new dispensation in Pakistan will allow its air space for the planes operating from the airport here.

Participating in a conference on Cooperation, Development, Peace and Security in Central Asia at Kashmir University, chief minister said it is highly unfortunate that because of the negative mindset of Pakistani government, they do not allow its airspace to the international flights from Srinagar international airport to Central Asian republics.

“Unfortunately, we have not been able to take advantage of this connectivity that was available to us, to operate direct flights to reduce distance between Srinagar and some of the capital cities of Central Asian republics”, he said.

He added that in case new government in Pakistan allows its air space to

the international flights operating from the Srinagar International Airport, then only it will become an international airport.

“The Srinagar international airport presently exists only on papers. It will only become an international airport when direct flights will be operated to Central Asian countries from Srinagar,” he added.

Chief Minister said that there is a close proximity between Jammu and Kashmir and Central Asian republics, like Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and other Central Asian republics.

“Once the government of Pakistan will allow our international flights originating from Srinagar to fly over its air space, we can reach these countries in shortest period of time,” he said.

Chief Minister said new developments in Afghanistan over the months to come will be closely monitored by New Delhi in view of the withdrawal of the US and NATO troops from that country.

“We are looking closely at the developments in Afghanistan. There are number of people in my state who are saber rattling about the future of the move towards normalisation in Jammu and Kashmir in light of the 2014 withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan. What effect that will have is now compounded by the dialogue that is sought to be started between the Taliban and the international community. One hopes international community learns from its mistakes and stops using other countries as an extended playground for their sphere of influence,” he said.

Chief Minister said that relations between India particularly Jammu and Kashmir and the Central Asia has been historic.

“There is perhaps no field of life where we do not possess similarities. Our culture, heritage, languages, architecture, eating habits and religion have similarity”, he said and stressed on the need of re-discovering silk-route to re-link Jammu and Kashmir with Central Asia and open a new chapter of socio-economic development. Identifying the challenges to link India with Central Asian Countries via Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, Omar Abdullah said “till we overcome this challenge we can have overland contact with these countries via Jammu and Kashmir”.

News Updated at : Sunday, June 30, 2013
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