JAMMU: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on Monday called for revival of historical Silk Route through Kashmir to meet the energy and economic needs in the region calling it an alternative to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Speaking at the Legislative Council here she said over the long term we could revive the historical Silk Route in the region as a part of the larger paradigm of regional energy and economic cooperation, adding such an arrangement can be an alternative to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through this part of Kashmir.
I feel Jammu and Kashmir could become a corridor between two emerging economic hot spots – South and Central Asia – to forge regional cooperation, energy transformation, trade and transit in the region.
Adding that we had the trans-Kashmir corridor, with diverse sub-corridors, was symbolic of relative peace, prosperity, cross-cultural and ideological fertilization and human security until late 1940s, she said adding that this unfortunately come apart in 1947 with the partition of the sub-continent.
“The oil and gas resources of Central Asia are the nearest and most economical answers to South Asian energy needs and J&K can help foster energy cooperation in the region by connecting India with China and Central Asia through Ladakh,” she said and added this will create favorable conditions for Jammu and Kashmir to play its natural role of connecting the two emerging economic zones and lift itself out of political and economic fragility.
She said India’s overland connections with her northern neighborhood came to a standstill to the detriment of its diverse socio-cultural and politico-economic interests post-Independence.
“However, the current reopening of traditional trans-Jammu and Kashmir and trans-PoK routes is strongly felt in view of the transforming geo-economic and geo-political scenarios at the regional and global levels,” she said.
Mehbooba said not only Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote roads that have already been opened for movement of people and goods, all traditional road links including Suchetgarh-Sialkote road, Kargil-Skardu road, Bandipora-Gurez-Gilgit road and Nowshera-Mirpur road should be opened for free movement of people and goods in the region.
She said the economic cooperation across the LoC could be also fostered by setting up cooperative mechanism in the areas like education, horticulture, tourism, agriculture, handicrafts, water resources, environment and disaster management.
Earlier, several members participated in the discussion on Motion of Thanks on the Governor’s Address in the upper house of the State Legislature.