M A I N   N E W S

India not on sale: PM
M.K. Razdan

Frankfurt, July 16
Reacting sharply to the allegations of a “sell out” to the US, levelled notably by the Left parties, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared today that he would safeguard national interests “till the end of my life”.

En route to Washington for discussions with President George W Bush, he told journalists on board his special aircraft that such allegations were an insult to the Congress party which he represented.

“Can you imagine that any Prime Minister will consciously or unconsciously sell India cheap. Nobody can sell India. India is not on sale,” he asserted adding, “nobody has to teach us lessons on patriotism.”

Mr Singh, who arrived here this evening for an overnight halt before proceeding to Washington tomorrow, was responding to questions on the criticism by the Left parties of the defence framework agreement with the US and BJP’s allegations that the government was diluting non-alignment.

In an uncharacteristically sharp reaction to the attacks on his government’s foreign policy, the Prime Minister said the Congress had produced most outstanding leaders of India’s freedom struggle who gave their lives to defend the dignity and honour of the nation.

“Preservation and protection of our national interest is of utmost importance and concern. I will safeguard these interests till the end of my life”, Mr Singh said.

He listed terrorism, discriminatory restrictions imposed by the US against technology transfer to India, energy security and trade and investment among the issues for discussions with US leaders.

Recalling the recent terrorists strikes in India and the UK, Mr Singh said global terrorism had to be recognised as a serious threat.

India, Mr Singh affirmed, will never compromise nationally on terrorism and will work internationally to create a system of checks and balances against it.

He did not appear to be unduly perturbed by the US opposition to a resolution moved in the UN General Assembly by India and other G-4 countries seeking permanent membership of the Security Council.

“Those who have power do not give it up easily. We have aspirations all of which cannot be realised in one day. We will persevere and we will overcome,” he said. — PTI

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