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Govt to talk to any group says PM
New Delhi, Mar 5 (IANS):
Published on 6 Mar. 2010 12:23 AM IST
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Describing as “satisfactory” the overall internal security situation last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday told the Lok Sabha that the government is ready to talk to any separatist group that abjures violence unconditionally and agrees to abide by the constitutional process. Speaking on the Maoist menace, Manmohan Singh said the government has drawn up an integrated action plan to tackle the problem in consultation with the concerned states. “We are taking firm action to curb the Naxalite (Maoist) violence. It is unfortunate that they are targeting innocent people and destroying roads, power lines and other essential infrastructure. In some places, we have received reports of the use of children,” he said. “While we are determined to take firm action, we are ready to talk to any group that abjures violence unconditionally and agrees to abide by the due constitutional process,” he added. “The overall security situation in the country has remained satisfactory in the last year. A number of concrete steps have been taken to strengthen and reorient our security architecture in order to meet the growing threats of terrorism, insurgency and communalism,” he said. The prime minister said the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a federal agency to probe terror, has commenced its work. “Four regional hubs of the National Security Guard (NSG) have been set up. We are in the process of setting up a National Counter-Terrorism Centre.” “A National Committee on Coastal Security has been set up which has adopted an integrated approach to coastal security and has taken major initiatives and decisions for registration of vessels, issue of identity cards to fishermen, installation of transponders on boats and setting up of four Joint Operation Centres. Coastal police stations and interceptor boats have become operational under the Coastal Security Scheme,” he added. Dialogue with Pakistan only way forward: PM New Delhi, Mar 5 (IANS): Ruling out any third party mediation in bilateral issues between India and Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said dialogue was the only way forward with Islamabad but there could be no meaningful discussion till an end to terror from Pakistani soil. Manmohan Singh also also said that the government’s decision to hold foreign-secretary level talks last was a “calculated” one and stressed that India’s “policy towards Pakistan is consistent, cautious and realistic”. The prime minister denied that he had sought any mediation by Saudi Arabia, and underlined that all problems with Pakistan could be resolved bilaterally if it adopted a “reasonable” attitude in dealing with terror elements targeting India. “Whatever our problems in South Asia, we must learn to talk to each other,” Manmohan Singh said. He was replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to President Pratibha Patil’s address to both houses of parliament. “Dialogue is the only way forward,” the prime minister said, adding that Pakistan must act against terror for a meaningful dialogue to progress. Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of spreading disinformation, Manmohan Singh rebutted charges levelled by BJP leader L.K. Advani that the government was talking to Pakistan under US pressure. Talks with Pakistan have not been initiated under US pressure, Manmohan Singh clarified. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao held talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir here on February 25. The talks focused on India’s concerns over cross-border terror emanating from the Pakistani territory. Turning down Pakistan’s demand for the resumption of the composite dialogue process, India had made it clear that such a dialogue was possible only after a climate of trust was created and asked Pakistan to act against anti-India terrorists operating from its territory.

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