Rajnath Singh appeals to J&K parties to contest polls

Rajnath Singh appeals to J&K parties to contest polls
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Inaugurates smart-fence pilot project on Jammu border

Jammu: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday appealed to political parties in J&K to participate in the panchayat and urban local body polls. Singh’s appeal came after the region’s two major regional parties — the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party — announced that they would not take part in the elections as the central government had not cleared its stand on Article 35A.
“I would like to appeal that all the political parties should participate in the political process. This will provide an opportunity to them to interact with the people,” Singh said at a press conference here.
When asked if the two Kashmir-based parties were following a separatist agenda, Singh declined to comment.
To a question, Singh said that India had made all efforts to improve relations with Pakistan. He cited the impromptu visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Pakistan to buttress his point.
“We cannot change the behaviour of Pakistan. They will have to understand how to behave with a neighbour,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Singh inaugurated two smart-fence pilot projects along the Indo-Pak border.
“Border security is our topmost priority. I am happy to inaugurate two pilot projects under CIBMS (Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System) today. We have already identified vulnerable areas and gaps on all borders,” he said.
Singh said the government was working towards upgrading border infrastructure, and more than 600 km roads had been constructed in border areas and hundreds of border outposts had been built.
“Initially, the CIBMS project will be implemented to cover gaps in the physical fencing on the border. Subsequently, these technological solutions will be implemented on the entire border,” he said.
This is the first time the home minister is visiting the state after the fall of the PDP-BJP government on June 19.
Another CIBMS project, covering a 60-km stretch in Assam, will be launched in November. “We are dedicating this system to those jawans who sacrificed their lives to safeguard the borders of the country,” Singh said.
He said the CIBMS would cover 2,600 km of vulnerable stretches on the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir and in Assam.
“After the introduction of this technology, our borders will become safer than before. Earlier, our jawans used to remain physically present in harsh conditions, regardless of fog, darkness or stormy conditions. This system will reduce casualties and help de-stress troops who are stationed in border areas for long periods. The need for physical presence will also come down,” he said.