Pakistan's Half-hearted Efforts Won't Do: PM
15 August 2005
The Times of India
New Delhi: Asserting that Government's response will be 'hard' if violence continued in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today made it clear that 'half-hearted' efforts by Pakistan to check terrorist activities will not suffice and it has to 'totally dismantle' the terror infrastructure. At the same time, he expressed Government's readiness to talk to 'everyone' to resolve the problems confronting Jammu and Kashmir. In his second Independence Day address to the nation, he said 'there is no no issue that cannot be resolved through a process of discussion and dialogue. Our doors are always open and will continue to be open for anyone interested in dialogue. 'I invite everyone to join us to discuss the problems of the state of Jammu and Kashmir so that its people can lead a life of peace and dignity,' he stressed. Referring to Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said terrorists have never been friends of people of Kashmir. As long as they continue their terrorist attacks, the armed forces would be alert and would give them a fitting response in which common citizens might also be affected at times, he said. 'I have said before and I am repeating once again that there is no issue that cannot be resolved through the process of discussion and dialogue. Our doors are open and will continue to be open for anyone interested in dialogue,' he said. Inviting 'everyone' to join the Government to discuss the problems of Jammu and Kashmir so that its people can lead a life of peace and dignity, Singh said 'if violence continues then our response too will be hard.' 'I am aware that the Government of Pakistan has put some checks on the activities of terrorists from its soil. However, it is not possible to achieve success through half- hearted efforts. It is necessary that the entire infrastructure of terrorism is totally dismantled,' he said. Referring to extremism, the Prime Minister said it had its roots in backwardness and lack of economic development. 'It is not easy to handle problems of extremism in isolation. However, by addressing it in all its dimensions - social, political, economic and security - in an integrated manner, I am confident that we will be successful in checking it,' he said. Elaborating on the neighbourhood policy, he said there seemed to be some success in India's search for peace and harmony now. 'The composite dialogue process with Pakistan is continuing. As a result, we have been able to reopen the Srinagar-Muzaffarbad Highway which was a long-pending demand of the people and restarted the bus service on this route, a step which has been widely welcomed. Talks are going on to open similar links from other states,' he said. Singh said once the gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan is completed, the Government would be able to address a major constraint affecting the nation's economy. He referred to India's efforts to have good relations with other neighbours including Afghanistan, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh while deepening relations with the US and Russia. Singh stressed the need to resolve river water disputes among states in a spirit of mutual give and take and understanding. In the wake of recent devastating floods, he said the Centre would provide all assistance to Mumbai, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat to bring back normalcy. In this context, he referred to constitution of National Disaster Management Authority and said through this and by using latest technology, the Government hoped to face calamities in a much better manner. Referring to problems in the North-East, he said whenever conditions deteriorated, the Government took the assistance of armed forces for maintaining peace. However, accidents do happen once in a while and keeping this in mind and with a view to protecting human rights, the Government had set up a committee to look into provisions of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Singh said. The report of the committee is being examined in detail and the Government would take all necessary steps so that there are no violations of human rights under the Act, he said.