We are ready for talks: PM to Kashmiris
End Violence, Come Forward
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Aug 15: In a firm message, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday asked the agitating Kashmiri youth to end violence saying it would not benefit anyone. He offered to carry forward the dialogue process within the framework of the state being an integral part of India.
Addressing the nation on the 64th I-Day against the backdrop of recent unrest in Kashmir, he said the Indian democracy has the "generosity and flexibility" to address concerns of any group.
In his 35-minute speech from the ramparts of historic Red Fort, Singh said India is willing to resolve differences with Pakistan through discussions but the dialogue cannot go far if terrorism emanating from there does not end.
At the same time, the 77-year-old economist-Prime Minister acknowledged that "high inflation" was hurting the people, with poor being the worst affected, and said the government was making every effort to control it.
Unfurling the tricolour for the seventh consecutive I-Day and becoming the third Prime Minister to do so after Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Singh expressed regret over the loss of lives in the 2-month-long violence in Kashmir which has left 58 persons dead.
"The years of violence should now end. Such violence would not benefit anyone," he said in his speech delivered in Urdu.
Underlining that Kashmir is an "integral part of India", Singh said, "Within this framework, we are ready to move forward in any talks which would increase the partnership of the common man in governance and also enhance their welfare."
He said the government is "ready to talk to every person or group which abjures violence".
Recalling his recent meeting with political parties from Jammu and Kashmir where he had expressed willingness to consider autonomy within Indian Constitution if there was consensus, he said, "We will endeavour to take this process forward."
He also spoke about the "serious challenge" posed by Naxalism to internal security and stressed the need for rising above "personal and political interests" to deal with the menace firmly through Centre-state cooperation. Making a fresh offer for dialogue, the Prime Minister asked the Maoists to abjure violence and come to the negotiating table.
Singh said the government was working to create a new and prosperous India where everyone would have access to better education, healthcare, food security and other benefits.
He said the government wants to resolve all differences with Pakistan but made it clear that the dialogue cannot go far unless terrorism emanating from there ends.
"As far as Pakistan is concerned, we expect from them that they would let their territory to be used for acts of terrorism against India," he said at the function which was attended by a host of leaders, including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and BJP Parliamentary Party Chairman L K Advani besides ministerial colleagues and diplomats.
Noting that India has been emphasizing this in all the discussions with Pakistan, he said, "If this is not done, we cannot progress far in our dialogue."
Lastupdate on : Sun, 15 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 15 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 16 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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