India's Fate Linked With That Of Its Neighbours: PM

30 October 2009
Times of India


New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh again signalled his desire to re-engage with Pakistan pointing to the need for a leadership in south Asia that was prepared to take a long-term view so that the future was not hostage to the past. Emphasising that India sought peace and progress in the neighbourhood, the PM on Friday said the country's destiny was 'intrinsically linked' with that of its neighbours. Without naming Pakistan, Singh stated India wanted to resolve all outstanding issues with its neighbours through dialogue. 'We seek good relations with each one of them. I have repeatedly said we see our security and prosperity in their progress and stability. We sincerely wish to resolve all outstanding issues with neighbours through dialogue and in the spirit of partnership and friendship that should rightly characterise our relations,' Singh said while addressing a leadership summit organised by a media house. While replying to a question later, Singh noted that Pakistan was faced with many internal problems and wished it success in its fight against terrorism. He added the region needed leadership that could take a long-term view and muster the courage to take bold decisions. 'We must not allow our past to limit our future,' he said, as he outlined his vision for India 2020. In Srinagar on Thursday, the PM had spoken of his preparedness for talks without pre-conditions with Pakistan while adding important riders that this could not happen if terrorist attacks did not stop. In Delhi, he dwelled more on his essential desire to move ahead with Pakistan, bosltering the view that some developments could be on the cards if no big terror strike took place. In official quarters, there is a feeling that if the Sharm el-Sheikh fiasco had not happened, there may have already been some movement on talks with Pakistan. As of now, the PM is moving cautiously but seems keen to explore the possibility of progress on engaging Islamabad. 'We wish our neighbours well. India is always happy to extend a helpful and supportive hand to all our neighbours. We wish to see democracy take deep roots in all these countries so that people of South Asia are truly empowered to take their destiny into their own hands,' said Singh. To a question on China, while he said that there was enough space in the world to accommodate the growth of both the countries, he asserted that India was taking all necessarry steps to augment its defence preparedness when it came to threat from any country. He said security was a primary concern for the government. When asked if the government was divided on the issue of tackling Maoists with railway minister Mamata Banerjee reportedly going against the government line, PM Manmohan Singh alluded to differences within the government even though he declared that the government would go all out to maintain law and order. 'We are a functional democracy. There are occasions when there are differences of opinion among various leaders of our own coalition. But let there be no doubt that law and order is the primary responsibility of every civilised state,' said Singh. 'Whatever comes in the way to maintain and enforce law and order, it will be dealt with as it ought to be. The India of tomorrow cannot be built from New Delhi alone. We require the active cooperation of state governments... We will help the states regardless of their political complexion,' he added.