rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » I am disappointed with Nawaz Sharif: PM on LoC firing

I am disappointed with Nawaz Sharif: PM on LoC firing

Last updated on: October 25, 2013 10:35 IST

I am disappointed with Nawaz Sharif: PM on LoC firing

     Next

Next
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday made one of his strongest statements till date on the recent, reportedly Pakistan-aided incursion attempts by militants along the Line of Control. 

That things were clearly not going well between India and Pakistan, was evident during Dr Singh’s brief interaction on his way back home with the media delegation that accompanied him on his trip to Russia and China.

On being asked whether he was disappointed with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif -- whom he met in New York three weeks back -- following the recent spurt in incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistan, and how he intended to respond to this transgression, Dr Singh talked straight: “I am disappointed because in the New York meeting, there was a general agreement by both sides that peace and tranquillity should be maintained on the border, on the Line of Control as well as the international border, and this has not happened. It has come to me as a big disappointment.”

“We had agreed at that meeting that the ceasefire -- which was made effective in 2003 -- if it has held ground for 10 years, it could be made to hold ground later on also. The fact that this is not happening is something which is really a matter of disappointment. I sincerely hope that at this late hour, Prime Minister Sharif recognises that this is a development which is not good for either of the two countries.”

The prime minister’s statement will be interpreted in many ways. The statement that happenings at the border are “not good for either of the two countries” is a loaded one.

India, particularly the Prime Minister’s Office, has been taking a soft stand to give space to Pakistan’s civilian leadership in view of its internal turmoil. But now, by naming Sharif directly in his response, Dr Singh has given an indication that the PMO is not only changing but also toughening its stand on the current situation. 

Dr Singh and Sharif had met in New York on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly summit in spite of the ‘dehati aurat’ comment controversy and amid the risk of the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi exploiting the meeting.

But, in less than a month, Dr Singh and the PMO have been using firm language against the incursions and sending a message publicly to Pakistan’s establishment.

Click on NEXT to read further...


Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh interacting with media-persons on board Air India One
Photographs: Press Information Bureau Photo

     Next

'BJP may have started early, but it will also peak early'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
Sheela Bhatt

Without roaring like Modi or playing the emotional card like Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Dr Singh gave his take on the current political situation -- he was cool, confident and calculated.

When asked whether he and his party were ready to meet the challenge posed by the BJP, which is already up and running for the 2014 elections, Dr Singh responded without a pause, “Well, I think the Congress party is quite active. I don’t share your view that the Congress party is not active enough.”

Then, Dr Singh gave the political line that many political observers in the country are talking about too.

Modi has been going to various cities and towns, and running an aggressive, well-planned, high-decibel and costly campaign against the government and the Congress party. Dr Singh summed up Modi’s onslaught thus: “I think the BJP may have started early but I think it will also peak early. Slow and steady, I think, is the thing which sometimes works in public life as well. I am confident that the Congress party will come out victorious in the 2014 elections.”

Click on NEXT to read further...


Image: Narendra Modi on one of his campaign stops
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

'I am doing my duty. History will judge my legacy'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
Sheela Bhatt

To Rediff.com’s query whether the slew of corruption scandals in the last nine years, the price rise issue and the resignation of two senior ministers, had hit his credibility -- particularly in the United Progressive Alliance's second term -- because of which the popularity of people like Modi was rising, Dr Singh responded aggressively. 

He said, “First of all, the scams that you are referring to (2G, CWG, Coalgate)… took place not in UPA-II; they took place in UPA-I. After that we had a general election. The Congress won in that elections hands down and I am sure that when the 2014 results get out, the country will once again be surprised.”

Dr Singh was not forthcoming on the coal scam and the Central Bureau of Investigation’s intended role. When asked if he was open to the CBI’s interrogation on the coal scam, Dr Singh repeated his earlier stand, saying: “I am not above the law of the land. If there is anything the CBI, or for that matter anybody, wants to ask, I have nothing to hide.”

Dr Singh, in the last six months or so of his second tenure, is convinced that history will judge him better than contemporary media.

When asked about the coal scam and other cases casting a shadow on his prime ministership and his 10-year legacy at the helm of the country, Dr Singh categorically said, “That is for history to judge. I am doing my duty. I will continue to do my duty. What impact my 10 years of prime ministership will have is something which is for historians to judge.”

Click on NEXT to read further...


Photographs: Press Information Bureau Photo

Prev     Next

On China: 'Our concerns have been put on the table'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
Sheela Bhatt

The prime minister seemed very satisfied with his visit to China, where he got tangible results in the form of a border agreement and better understanding on trans-river issues. 

Moreover, there was a public display of warmth, which is uncommon in Beijing’s way of doing things. During his visit to the Forbidden City (the Chinese imperial palace located in the centre of Beijing), his counterpart Li Keqiang took him around in a golf cart to show him the palaces of Chinese kings who ruled the country more than 500 years ago.

On the last day of Dr Singh’s visit, former premier Wen Jiabao hosted a lunch in his honour. The photograph of the prime minister’s welcome at lunch speaks volumes about how Dr Singh and Wen had become friends in the last nine years. Both hugged each other in a very Asian way.

When asked about the likely impact of the “landmark cross-border river agreement” with China, given that he is representing the north-east in the Rajya Sabha, Dr Singh said: “Well, because I represent the north-east, I have been emphatic that cooperation between China and India in matters relating to the trans-border river system should proceed forward. I have been discussing this earlier also with the Chinese leadership. I raised this issue again and there is incremental progress. They have agreed to supply data for more number of days. Also, they have recognised that the behaviour of the trans-border river system is of interest to all riparian states. So, our concerns have been put on the table. I hope there will be progress in years to come."

Click on NEXT to read further...


Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taking a tour of the Forbidden City with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang
Photographs: Press Information Bureau Photo

Prev     Next

'Worried about the politics of hate sweeping our country'

Prev     More
Prev

More
Sheela Bhatt

On the Telangana issue, the prime minister said, “The matter is now before the Group of Ministers. They are going into all aspects of the problem and I am sure they will come out with a viable solution to this very difficult and complicated problem.”

Asked whether Rahul Gandhi’s recent statement about the possibility of being killed the way his grandmother and father were was made on the basis of specific threat to him or was it the hate politics of the opposition parties that made him say it, Dr Singh -- with an indirect reference to Modi’s politics -- said: “Well, people should be worried about the politics of hate which is now sweeping our country. With regard to the threat to the life of Rahul Gandhi, the government will take all possible precautions that this threat does not materialise.”


Image: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi


Prev     More