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Rediff.com  » News » We want friendship with Pak, but they should also try: PM

We want friendship with Pak, but they should also try: PM

Last updated on: January 20, 2013 15:24 IST

We want friendship with Pak, but they should also try: PM

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Talking tough, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said that India has made it clear to Pakistan that the beheading of an Indian soldier by its army can have a "negative impact" on ties and asked it to reciprocate efforts for friendship.

"We take a consistent review of our ties with Pakistan. We have made clear that the incident can cast a negative impact on our bilateral ties. We will take steps with due care and consideration," he said addressing a meeting of the All India Congress Committee in Jaipur.

"We want friendship with Pakistan but they should also make efforts in this regard. It is not possible only because we want it or because of our efforts," the PM said.

His remarks were greeted by applause from the gathering of delegates at AICC which was presided by party chief Sonia Gandhi with Vice President Rahul Gandhi on her side.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh


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'UPA better than NDA at eradicating poverty'

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Admitting that handling inflation is a shortcoming of the United Progress Alliance government, Dr Singh asserted that there was need to take "solid steps" to ease the situation on price rise especially this year.

He said inflation has been "one shortcoming in our record". During the UPA regime, the average rate of inflation has remained higher than we desired.

He said a major reason for this has been hike in the rates of petroleum products in the international market during the last eight years and the benefit extended to farmers by increasing the minimum support price for crops.

"We need to take sold steps to eliminate inflation, especially in 2013-14," he said.

Comparing UPA's performance with the predecessor Nation Democratic Alliance, the PM said the growth rate during the six years of previous regime was 5.8 per cent, while the UPA's eight-year rule saw it increase to 8.2 per cent per annum.

Similarly, he said, the UPA has fared better in eliminating poverty and improving agricultural growth.

Referring to the brutal gang rape incident in Delhi, the PM said the country has to travel a long way to provide women with equal social and economic equity.

"We should not forget that women are half of our population and their contribution to development and prosperity is necessary," he said.

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Image: Congress President Sonia Gandhi with Dr Singh


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'Our communication strategy has not been effective'

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Speaking about his government, PM said the party has to decide what it has to tell the people in the year ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

"We have to give right information to the people on our performance and whatever shortcomings had been there we have to honestly admit them.A question arises as to why people are not identifying our achievements. One of the reasons is that we (Congress) have not propagated our achievements. Perhaps our communication strategy has not been effective," he said.

Often people do not come to know what schemes are providing them benefits and that they belonged to the Central government, he said adding that on many occasions non-Congress government exploited this by taking credit for them as their own.

Referring to the youth, he said in future schemes the government would have to assure the crores of youth that it fully understands their aspirations and would take effective steps to fulfill their demand.


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Image: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with Dr Singh and Sonia Gandhi
Photographs: Reuters

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'Govt is committed to a strong Lokpal'

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On corruption, the PM said they understand the anger and difficulties of the common man on the issue.

"We have taken several steps to improve transparency and accountability and check wrongdoings," he said citing measures including the removal of discretionary powers of public servants and use of latest technology.

The government is committed to the establishment of a strong Lokpal and hoped that the attempt would be successful soon, he said.

On the Right to Information, Dr Singh said because of the transparency the shortcoming of the government and bureaucracy have come to be known which other remained unseen. "We welcome this. Whenever any wrong doing has come to our notice, we have taken effective action against it," he said.



Image: Supporters of social activist Anna Hazare carry a mock funeral pyre symbolising the government's anti-corruption Lokpal Bill during a demonstration in Ahmedabad
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
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