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PM prefers a left hook

Thiruvananthapuram, November 1
Choosing Left-ruled Kerala to answer critics of his government's foreign and economic policies, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today rejected that globalisation resulted in agrarian crisis and efforts to improve ties with the US marked a radical policy shift.

Addressing a function on the occasion of 50 years of Kerala's formation, he promised a special package to bail out the crisis-ridden plantation and traditional sectors in Kerala and asked the state to invest more in skill-based education to increase employability of its youth.

The PM dismissed the argument that globalisation and imports were behind the periodic crises in plantation and traditional sectors and said the problems should be tackled by applying modern science and technology to improve yields.

"We must tackle the problem of these crops not by shutting doors but by applying modern science and technology to improve yields and productivity," the Prime Minister said in an apparent response to critics of liberalisation.

In a veiled dig at the Left parties' charge that the Centre's policies were responsible for Kerala' woes, he said at a Congress convention, that the blame should not be put on the UPA government but be placed elsewhere.

Alluding to the Left criticism of his government's foreign policy, Manmohan Singh said, "Sometimes confusion is sought to be created that there has been a change in foreign policy. In terms of our basic objectives, there is no change."

The Left parties, which provide crucial outside support to the UPA coalition at the Centre, have serious differences over the government's foreign policy, accusing it of having a pro-US tilt.

India wanted the goodwill and cooperation of big powers like the US, Russia and China but this did not mean there was a shift from the basic policies followed since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru, the PM said, adding there was some change in flexibility of tactics as needed by the times.

While seeking to develop ties with big powers like the US, Russia and China, he said, India was trying to develop friendly ties with Pakistan despite the issue of terrorism. PTI

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