Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday said his government will start cultural exchange programmes with Pakistan to strengthen ties between the countries.
Addressing mediapersons after presiding over the felicitation ceremony of Pakistans Federal Minister,Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo,here,Badal said the state government was duty bound to improve ties with Pakistan so that a new era of mutual trust and cooperation could be ushered in. For this,cultural exchanges could play a pivotal role as they would encourage interaction among the youth and thaw differences.
He asked Wattoo to impress upon the Pakistan government to send a delegation of students to educational institutions in Punjab for promoting mutual trust and goodwill in the region. Efforts will also be made by the state government to ensure that the bond in the field of sports is made stronger by holding matches of games like Kabaddi.
Badal reiterated that the opening of trade between both the countries,coupled with relaxation of visa norms,will go a long way in the economic development of the region besides promoting the much needed people-to-people contact in the sub-continent.
It was high time that the countries,especially the regions of east and west Punjab,came closer for their mutual socio-economic development. If the present scenario of suspicion and distrust is replaced by love,peace,and goodwill then it would herald an era of economic prosperity and friendship in the Indian subcontinent,which would be beneficial for both the countries, he added.
Badal also sought Wattoos intervention in providing a direct corridor from Dera Baba Nanak to Sri Kartarpur Sahib,which will enable lakhs of devotees to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.
Wattoo,who also visited Dashmesh College here,said the intelligentsia of the countries should play a proactive role in establishing healthy relations between the two nations. He also lauded Badals role in establishing the college,which is equipped with facilities like a shooting range,and that too in a remote area.