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Innovative ideas to resolve differences: Vajpayee
March 12, 2004 15:07 IST
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday said India and Pakistan should look at 'innovative' ideas to resolve differences.
He said the public opinion in India and Pakistan should lead politicians to 'pragmatic and acceptable' solutions to their problems.
Delivering the keynote address at the two-day India Today conclave in Delhi, Vajpayee said, "That is why we have been advocating intensification of trade, economic cooperation, cultural exchanges and sporting links, so that public opinion in both countries can be mobilised in support of the peace dividend."
Observing that India has consistently used the language of cooperation, detente and dialogue in its neighbourhood policy, he said the agreement reached with Pakistan in January flowed from this consistent stand that it is only bilateral dialogue, which can solve problems and that this dialogue cannot be pursued or sustained if terrorism continues.
New Delhi has also held that these problems, including that of Jammu and Kashmir should be addressed in this dialogue, he said.
In his speech, Vajpayee referred to the upcoming Lok Sabha election, outlined three-pronged strategy for the future, including promoting productive employment, and had a pot shot at those deriding the National Democratic Alliance government's 'India Shining' campaign.
"I have also frequently said that in this changing and fast moving world, we cannot afford to remain shackled in history. We should be willing to look at innovative ideas for resolution of our bilateral differences," he said.
Observing that India faces a 'big challenge' today, he said, "We will always remain a democracy, of course. That is an abiding source of India's pride and strength."
Listing the challenges, he asked, "Can our democracy create a common national purpose around the issue of development and deliver it on a scale that all of us dream of? Can we remove regional and social disparities and bridge the urban-rural divide fast enough? Can we speedily enlarge the basket of opportunities to match the growing aspirations of our predominantly youthful population?"
"In short, can we make India a developed nation in a holistic way by 2020 within the lifespan of a single generation? He went on to answer: "Yes, we can. We must."
Vajpayee said his government had endeavoured to work towards this goal for the past five years.
"It is our resolve to accelerate this process over the next five years. And this is precisely why we are seeking a renewed mandate from the people of India, in the hope and confidence that we will get it," he said.