JAMMU: British Deputy High Commissioner to India, Dr Alexander Evans called on the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti here last evening. Later on Thursday, he had detailed meeting with governor N N Vohra, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh and Chief Secretary.
Evans, an old Kashmir hand, is meeting some more ministers on Friday.
During the meeting with Chief Minister, Evans discussed emerging political and socio economic developments in the State. Alex Pykett, First Secretary and Deepjyoti Barman, Senior Political Advisor (Foreign Policy & Security) in British High Commission, accompanied him.
Ms Mufti informed the visiting envoy of her Government’s keenness to initiate political process alongwith aggressive developmental governance in the State. She said it is her firm belief that good governance and political dialogue together can get the State out of the difficulties it is presently in.
The Chief Minister said opening of more routes, particularly the traditional ones, across the LoC would ensure more people to people contact and economic activity on the two sides. She said the opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote roads to traffic and trade has enhanced the stakes of local people on the two sides in peace and good relations and the tempo has to be maintained with the opening of more such routes.
On the Indo-Pak relations, Mehbooba Mufti stressed on taking forward the vision of former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee adding the similarities and commonalities on the two sides need to be focused and considered rather than the differences. She hoped the present Government at the Centre would carry forward this mission.
The Chief Minister told Dr Evans that many mega connectivity projects besides Srinagar-Jammu rail link are under execution in the State which would not only connect the regions to each other but also help in exploiting the untapped economic potential of these areas as well. She also informed him about the High Density Apple plantation schemes launched recently by the Government which is expected to give a turnaround to horticulture industry in the State.
Thursday morning, Evans called on Governor N. N. Vohra at the Raj Bhavan. They discussed various matters relating to promotion of Indo-UK relations.
Later, in the day, he had meeting with Deputy Chief Minster, Dr Nirmal Singh in which they discussed in detail the prevailing political and security situation in the State. He also had a meeting with Chief Secretary, B R Sharma. During the meeting, Chief Secretary and British Deputy High Commissioner discussed various issues particularly related to challenges confronting the State and their impact on the economic and development activities.
Key developmental projects in the road sector including the 4 lanning of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, Zojila and Z-Morh Tunnels, Railway Project etc also came up for discussion. Travel advisory for the State of Jammu and Kashmir was also discussed during the meeting. The British Deputy High Commissioner said that the Advisory is constantly being reviewed.