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Mukherjee for 'tension-free' atmosphere on borders
October 25, 2006 18:52 IST
He steered clear of the controversy over the kind of proof collected by security agencies with regard to Pakistan's involvement in the July 11 Mumbai blasts, saying "certain evidence" had been gathered which will be shared with Islamabad.
"As we cannot alter our neighbours, it is desirable to live with our neighbours in peace and create tension-free situation on our borders with our neighbours," Mukherjee told reporters while responding to questions on Pakistani role in terror attacks in India.
Mukherjee, who has moved from the Defence Ministry, said peace and tranquility in the region as well as other parts of the world was "most important" to ensure that India succeeds in its ambition of achieving sustained high economic growth of 9-10 per cent and above.
For attaining the high economic growth, India will require investments and access to state-of-the-art technology, he said on returning to the ministry after 10 years.
The minister said peace in the world at large was also desirable as developments in one part have impact on other parts.
With regard to the controversy over the kind of evidence available with regard to Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai blasts, Mukherjee said his views couldn't be different as he was part of the same government.
"Our law enforcement agencies have gathered certain evidence," Mukherjee said, adding it will be shared with Pakistan.
He was asked about differing statements made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Home Secretary V K Duggal.
While Singh has been saying that India has "credible" evidence, Narayanan said last week that the evidence was "pretty good" but not "clinching". Duggal later said the evidence was "fairly solid".
To a question about terrorism emanating from Bangladesh, Mukherjee disagreed with a suggestion about use of "force" against it.
The Minister said India has already taken up the issue with Bangladesh and suggested to them that it is in the interest of both countries that terrorist activities are curbed.
The matter was even raised with Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia when she visited India in April 2006, he said.
Mukherjee was allocated the External Affairs Ministry portfolio on Tuesday, a year after the post fell vacant when Natwar Singh had to resign. Singh had to quit after his name appeared in Volcker Committee report as a 'non-contractual' beneficiary in Iraq's oil-for-food scam.
Mukherjee, who held the External Affairs portfolio in the P V Narasimha Rao government till May 1996, said he was happy to be back.
He said he was fully aware and conscious of the responsibilities of the new assignment, particularly as India was at the moment poised to play more important role to take its rightful place in the comity of nations.