Opening of Silk Route will play an important role in solving Kashmir issue, says Mehbooba

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Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said that the opening of the silk route will play an important role in solving the vexed Kashmir issue.

Mehbooba, after inaugurating the 7th International Buyer-Seller Meet organized by the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, she said that presently the geopolitical situation of the state is not ‘positive’ regarding the opening of the traditional route which connected Kashmir with Central Asia.

“The geographic location of Kashmir is as such that it has a lot of connection with Central Asia and South Asia. Our culture, crafts, cuisine is inspired from those regions. This was late Mufti Sayeed’s dream, that Kashmir which was known as gateway of central Asia due to the Silk Route should be opened again so that Kashmir is connected with its cultural ties,” Mehbooba said.

Mufti Sayeed was the former chief Minister of the state and current CM’s father.

“So we need to revive our roots which connected us with Central Asia and the world however at present our geo political situation is not so positive. However, nothing is impossible. Opening of Muzaffarabad road seemed impossible, but finally it opened,” Mehbooba stated.

The Chief Minister said that throwing open the state to the world will play a vital role in solving the Kashmir issue.

“The opening of such routes (silk route) will play an important role in solving the Kashmir issue.”

In January, Mehbooba had said that Jammu & Kashmir has a strategic location which should be exploited for positive and gainful results.

“Why can’t we be gateway to Central Asia. We should be part of the Silk Route. Let us explore the opportunities of Tashkant, Kashgar, Iran etc. which have been the historic routes through which Islam came to Kashmir”, she said. “It was this tolerant Islam which groomed us to think on rational and humanitarian lines while deciding our fate in 1947. Let us go back to our routes”, she said.

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Talking about the Buyer-Seller meet, Mehbooba said that that the event marks the beginning of establishing Kashmir as a major international trading centre.

“It has been our dream to open JK to the rest of the world for trade through land routes but due to the current geo political situation, we have not been able to make much headway in that direction,” she said.

Mehbooba added that someday, soon, JK will realize the full potential of its geo-strategic location for its economic development.

“We will continue to strive for the opening of the old silk route, reconnect with our roots which have given us our culture.”

Mehbooba also hailed the artisans of the valley and credited them for keeping the economic parameters alive during turbulent times.

“It was the craftsmen who kept things moving when many of the economic parameters in the State were not so good during the last three decades. Our artisans do not use their fingers and hands only, they give their blood and soul to produce the artifacts J&K is known for”, she said in her address while pledging all support from her Government. “I assure you that my Government is with you for the promotion and strengthening of handicraft sector”, she added.

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While addressing the international buyers, the Chief Minister compared the composition of the gathering with a masterpiece created the local artisans depicting the inclusive and colourful outlook of the people living in the state.

She said she believed that such an occasion would provide a meeting ground to the artisans of the State, entrepreneurs and the trading community to promote the arts and crafts of the State and build a relationship of trust and sustained interest with their outside counterparts.

“I hope you will go back as our ambassadors in the international trading community and the masterpieces you carry from here will act as souvenirs of peace and goodwill”, she said in her address.

“Inspite of the pain, Kashmir has continued to be a resilient, hospitable place,” Mehbooba concluded.

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