Mehbooba urges int’l community to recognize potential of JK youth

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Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, Monday urged the international community to recognize the huge potential and talent of youth of Jammu & Kashmir by navigating their knowledge and expertise into key areas where they have set global benchmarks.

She admired the perseverance of young and robust people of her state for shaping their future despite the persistent threat of violence and conflict staring right in their faces. “I expect major youth-oriented interventions from the international community to give wings to the ambition of our talented youth,” she stated.

The Chief Minister was talking to the Ambassador of Germany in India, Dr. Martin Ney, here this morning. He was accompanied by his wife, Dr. Med Gabriele Ney.

Batting for greater exchange of ideas between the youth of J&K and those from overseas, the Chief Minister said our small baby steps need a big push from countries like Germany, which have a wealth of expertise in the fields of skill development, biotechnology, animal husbandry and horticulture. She said the transfer of knowledge can take place only when there is a healthy discourse on matters of mutual interest. “Unfortunately, our success stories are sparingly highlighted and even these get drowned in the din of violence as and when it rears its ugly head,” she said, insisting on instilling a sense of confidence amongst our youth by giving their careers a new direction.

Mentioning some of the welfare programmes and policies framed by the Central and State governments for youth, the Chief Minister said international exposure will take this engagement to the next level. “It is in the interest of both the sides if youth engage and share knowledge and expertise in key areas of skill development, in which Germany has made giant strides,” she added.  

Mehbooba Mufti also suggested if Germany can introduce a few scholarship and fellowship programmes for bright young students and entrepreneurs for which a link-up between industry and academia of the two sides can be mutually worked out.

Speaking on matters of conflict resolution and challenges facing world peace today, Mehbooba Mufti said J&K, being the only Muslim majority state in the country, can become a showcase window to which the world can look up to. She, however, opined that unless there is a greater exchange and people-to-people contact, it will be very difficult for anyone to change their opinion. “Seeing is believing. We practise the great religion of Islam in its true sense by living together as a tolerant society with deep sense of respect for sensitivities of each community living here,” she added.     

Favouring a rethink on travel advisories imposed by several European countries, Mehbooba Mufti said Kashmir is unjustly compared with conflict zones in other parts of the world, where sheer magnitude of violence is so huge that people are being driven out of their homes. “We seek your indulgence in changing this negative perception which is taking a heavy toll on our tourism sector, the mainstay of our economy,” she told the visiting envoy.

The Chief Minister said Kashmir can also benefit hugely from German intervention in adventure tourism, where the valley holds great potential, especially in terms of increasing footprint of foreign travellers. “We look forward to some of your experts coming over and contributing in our efforts to promote adventure tourism big time,” she suggested.

Describing Kashmir as one of the most beautiful places on the earth, Dr. Ney said he is visiting the valley as part of Germany’s Management Training Programme, in collaboration with CII (Confederation of Indian Industry). He said he will be attending an apple clinic with some young entrepreneurs in Shopian tomorrow to see how we can help transfer of technology and best practices. “We are particularly targeting the small and medium enterprises and hope to build a long-term relationship,” he said, while assuring the Chief Minister of greater cooperation in key sectors of intervention.

The German Ambassador said he is very keen to engage the youth of Jammu & Kashmir by giving them a new perspective in the field of education, entrepreneurship and skill development.    

The Chief Minister paid her gratitude to the visiting Ambassador for reviving the Diwan-e-Khas of the famed Mughal Garden on the banks of the Dal Lake. On her request, Dr. Ney also agreed to take up a similar conservation project for Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex at Jammu under Germany’s Culture Aid Programme.

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