Restoration of peace in Kashmir top priority: Jaitley

Minister doesn’t outrightly reject dialogue with separatists

Union minister Arun Jaitley today did not outrightly reject the possibility of talks with separatists, but said the focus at the moment was to first improve the situation in the Kashmir valley.
When asked whether the Central government will have a dialogue with the Hurrriyat Conference, Jaitely responded with: “Let the situation become normal that is the top priority. As and when we decide, the Central government will make a statement.”
The Peoples Democratic Party which shares power with the BJP in J&K has been calling for the dialogue with Kashmiri separatists.
Jaitley told reporters in Srinagar that the situation in some parts of state was quite challenging.
“I found Srinagar fairly normal. It is certainly far better and more normal than what media has conveyed to us,” he said.
Jaitley, who in also the Defence Minister, had reviewed the security situation in Kashmir at Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps headquarters on Wednesday.
“I had a detailed meeting with the Chief of Army Staff and senior officials and Defence Secretary-designate and they gave a me a detailed presentation. The Army’s principal job is to look after the Line of Control and handle conflict in some areas. In both areas, the Army is fully confident of meeting the situation,” the minister said.

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