May 2004 News

Govt Mulls Two-fold Strategy For Terrorists

23 May 2004
The Times of India

New Delhi: With Sunday's terrorist strike in Jammu and Kashmir coming as an uneasy reminder of the festering problem, the new government on its very first day decided to adopt a two-fold strategy. 'We have to accept the reality of the menace of terrorism,' senior Cabinet minister Pranab Mukherjee told The Times of India. Expressing concern over the incident in which 28 BSF men and their family members had been killed, Mukherjee suggested a two-way approach. He said that while the government would prefer to continue the dialogue with recalcitrant elements in the Valley, simultaneously the security arrangement would be streamlined to repulse such attacks. Taking a broad look at the internal security scenario, he said the government would have to deal firmly with terrorist activity from across the border, insurgency in the North-East and ultra-Left violence in some parts of the country. An added element in the situation, he suggested, is the possibility of communal disturbances. 'Defusing social tension is a major challenge before the government,' he remarked. Asked about the priority of the Congress-led coalition government, he, however, brought the focus to another plane. 'Our primary obligation is to provide good governance, that's what we are here for,' he said. Terming the new cabinet as a 'good team with representation of various segments', Mukherjee said that they were determined to provide good governance. He accused the NDA of failure on that count. Mukherjee hinted that the new government was likely to review and reverse some of the policy directions of the Vajpayee regime. 'It is quite normal for a new government to correct things which might have gone wrong; you cannot allow it to go on,' he remarked. Turning to other areas, Mukherjee said that both economy and agriculture would require considerable attention. A target of 7- 8% GDP growth and massive investment in agriculture constitute a priority for the government, he said.


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