Ready to talk to any group that gives up gun: PM

     Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday said that he and his government was ready to talk to any separatist group that showed a willingness to give up violence and the use of guns. Addressing a public gathering on the first day of his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Dr. Singh categorically said that he was not ready to talk to any group that backs terror. He further said wthat he was committed to ushering an atmosphere of peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir. During the course of his address, the Prime Minister said that he would review the progress in the Round Table peace initiative and development work being undertaken in the state. Sources said that he would address a convocation of the Sher-e-Kashmir Agricultural University in Srinagar. Union Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prithviraj Chavan have accompanied Dr.Singh. Tight security arrangements greeted Dr. Singh when he arrived in Srinagar this afternoon. Police pickets were erected at various places to combat threats from terror groups. This is Dr. Singh''s second visit to Jammu and Kashmir after being reelected as Prime Minister for a second consecutive term in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government. He visited Srinagar in last October. Reiterating that there were some elements and organizations only interested in fomenting trouble in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister praised the armed forces, and particularly the Army, for defending the country's borders. Addressing a public gathering at the start of his two-day visit to the Kashmir Valley, Dr. Singh backed the Army's role, saying that it was doing a good job in defending the nation's frontiers. He said the army has been forced to take action against elements who were determined to create instability in the state, including infiltrators. He candidly admitted that in the process of this aggressive response to terror, innocents got trapped. He said that his government is committed to promoting peace in Jammu and Kashmir, and ready to talk to any group that abjured violence.

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