The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kalam inches closer to LoC

New Delhi, June 18: It is now A.P.J. Abdul Kalamís turn to show the world that normality is returning to Jammu and Kashmir.

Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee did so in April when he addressed a public rally at Srinagar, about 100 km from the Line of Control. On June 1, Sonia Gandhi went one better: she held a public meeting in Baramulla, just 35 km from the LoC.

The President will be moving closer still to the LoC during his three-day visit to the state, beginning June 26. When he visits Uri, Kalam will have a clear view of the mountainous border stretch less than 3 km from where he will be landing.

A source said Kalam would be the first President to visit the Uri forward areas.

Kalam will obviously interact with jawans manning the forward posts, but the visit holds a special significance for him. A few months ago, the President had met a group of schoolchildren from Uri at Rashtrapati Bhavan. This trip is like a return visit. He will now meet the children in their own surroundings.

The Uri visit will be the high-point of his visit, but Kalam will also be travelling to Udhampur, Jammu, Srinagar and Leh. At Srinagar, Kalam is scheduled to address the jawans of the 15 Corps. Also part of his Srinagar itinerary is an interactive session with MLAs.

A visit to the historic Hazratbal mosque in the old city is being considered. Kalam begins his visit in Udhampur, where he will distribute the President's colours to police personnel at the police training academy campus.

In Jammu, the President will participate in a convocation at Jammu University. He will interact with tribals and Buddhist monks on a brief visit to Leh.

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