Wednesday, August 16, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Stop proxy war, PM warns Pak
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Aug 15 — Declaring Jammu and Kashmir as an “unbreakable part of India”, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today warned Islamabad to stop its undeclared war against the country as “the clock cannot be put back”.

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of the 54th Independence Day, the Prime Minister said: “Pakistan would be committing a terrible folly if it thinks that it can secure anything through the undeclared war that it has been waging against India”.

“India’s willingness and ability to deal firmly with violence, terrorism, extremism and separatism should not be underestimated”, Mr Vajpayee said in a calm yet firm tone.

“On the one hand, Pakistan says that it is willing to participate in talks. On the other hand, it continues to be deeply involved in violence, killings and cross-border terrorism”, Mr Vajpayee pointed out, saying that “activities of terrorists and proposals for peace talks cannot go together”.

“Our neighbour must realise that the clock cannot be turned back”, Mr Vajpayee said, advising rulers and people of Pakistan to pay heed to renowned Urdu lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi who said, “Gone is that time, gone is that age, when ‘two nations’ was the slogan”.

Stating that the 21st century “does not permit the redrawing of borders either in the name of religion or on the strength of sword”, Mr Vajpayee said this “is the age for resolving differences, not for prolonging disputes”.

Blaming Pakistan squarely for derailing the recent peace efforts in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Vajpayee said the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh were tired of violence and bloodshed. They were craving for peace, he said.

There was a need for applying the salve of brotherhood on the wounded body of Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister underlined and said: “That is why, I recently said that India is prepared to apply the balm for Kashmir’s agony within the framework of insaniyat (humanity)”.

In his 30-minute address in Hindi, the Prime Minister touched upon a variety of issues ranging from campaign against corruption in high places, communalism, women’s reservation in legislatures and Parliament, health, education, peace and development in the North-East and economic reforms.

Speaking from behind a bullet-proof glass shield, Mr Vajpayee stressed that development and security had to be dovetailed as they were complimentary to each other: “Without security there cannot be development. Without development, our security is incomplete”.

Turning to economic issues, the Prime Minister expressed his government’s resolve to go ahead with economic reforms saying that they were the need of the hour.

“There is no scope for either apprehensions or fear about our economic reforms. I remember that some people had expressed similar fears even during the Green Revolution. These fears later proved to be baseless.... the perspective of our economic reforms is our own”, he said appealing to various sections to build a consensus in favour of the reforms.

Declaring the current decade as the “decade of development”, he said the government had decided to achieve the target of doubling India’s per capita income in the next 10 years.

The Prime Minister said to achieve the ambitious target, the country had to make many important reforms in the economy. “At the same time, we need to implement necessary reforms in our administration, our judiciary, in education and in other areas”.

He said the newly formulated national agriculture policy was aimed at increasing farm production by 4 per cent per year and taking concrete steps to check the fall in investments in the agricultural sector.

Terming the national highway development project as an ambitious one, he said a four-lane “golden quadrilateral connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai would be ready by 2003. The north-south and east-west corridors would be ready by 2007, he said.

For the first time since Independence, the Centre had devised a well-conceived and time-bound programme for rural roads, the Prime Minister said, adding that this 100 per cent Centrally-sponsored scheme, which was called the Prime Minister’s Rural Road Scheme, aimed to connect, within the next three years, every village that had a population of more than 1000, through good all-weather roads.

For this project, the Central government was making a provision for Rs 5,000 crore in the first year, he said.

Mr Vajpayee declared that his government would “intensify” its campaign against corruption in high places. “Our country cannot make expected progress in development without probity in administration and in public life”.

Regretting a few unfortunate incidents that had soiled communal peace and goodwill in some places, Mr Vajpayee said the government would not tolerate the activities of any organisation that spread communal discord or incited violence.

On social sector issues, the Prime Minister said the government would announce by the year-end an integrated national health policy aimed at achieving health for all.

The Prime Minister also said his government was committed to ensuring that every village and hamlet got access to clean drinking water in the next four years.

The Prime Minister said the government had decided that by 2010, every child would get education up to class VIII.

Turning to women’s welfare and empowerment, he said there was need to quickly bring about a consensus on the women’s reservation Bill aimed at providing reservation to women in Parliament and State Assemblies.

On the North-East, he regretted that the biggest impediment to faster development in the region had been the militant organisations that were fomenting violence and trouble.

Appealing to leaders and followers of these organisations to give up this “futile and dangerous path”, he said the government was currently engaged in talks with some organisations in the region so that peace and development could be restored there. “I am confident that these efforts will bear fruit”, he said.

Before reaching the Red Fort, Mr Vajpayee paid floral tributes at the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.


Speech highlights

— Borders cannot be redrawn on the basis of religion or on the strength of sword.

— Communal elements to be dealt with firmly.

— National health policy to be announced this year.

— Education for every child up to class VIII by 2010.

— More administrative and financial powers to states.

— Emphasis on social justice and empowerment of women.

— Four per cent annual growth rate in agriculture envisaged.

— Every school and village to have access to computer and Internet.

— Software exports expected to reach Rs 2,00,000 crore by 2008.

— To double India’s per capita income in next 10 years.

— Interest of workers to be taken care of in the economic reforms process. 

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