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No territorial compromise on Kashmir: Jaitley

Shyam Bhatia in London | July 01, 2003 18:34 IST

Commerce and Industry Minister Arun Jaitley has ruled out any territorial compromise on Kashmir as a way of resolving the challenges that India faces from international terrorism.

In a loaded reference to Pakistan, Jaitley told an audience in London, "Countries don't survive by squandering territories away merely because extra-constitutionalism has been adopted by a neighbour."

Jaitley, who delivered the M P Birla memorial lecture on 'India and Terrorism' at London's Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, said: "An ill-advised precedence will be the starting point of balkanisation of any civilisation as success to those who use terror to disrupt civil life. I don't think we should allow such ideas to be taken seriously.

"Perhaps some do not like the idea of India emerging as a powerful nation.

"Now we are the target of a proxy war and the main attack of the enemy is on our democratic institutions or symbol of secularism, whether it is Parliament, temple or Amarnath Yatra."

Jaitley also listed the casualties India had suffered from terrorism.

"In the four conventional wars we lost 9,857 people. But we have lost 63,000 people in just the last 15 years to this so-called proxy war. And these are civilians; to this add more than 9,000 military personnel who have died."

Earlier, Jaitley told rediff.com about India's remarkable economic progress, including a 96 per cent jump in exports to China.

"Broadly, the era of shortages is over. The pre-1991 era is what I always describe as the era of shortages," he said hours before delivering the lecture.

"The other significant area where we have found our core competence is our knowledge resource.

"There seems to be a significant churning out taking place in the country. We didn't realise how it was going on. One of the reasons it significantly affects is the huge middle class from 350 million upwards. That's generating demand and is also persuading people in the direction of the knowledge.

"This whole IT factor that became visible over the last few years has contributed towards this. This has thrown up a lot of institutions. They are increasing almost by the hundreds every year -- your engineering colleges, your IT institutions, your management colleges, you medical, dental, all this seems to be a significant shift."

The minister said on an average India's gross domestic product grows by 6 per cent.

"Our target for this decade is 8 per cent. Last year we could have done better, but for the monsoon. So I am keeping my fingers crossed for this year.

"The size of the economy is growing because of this huge demand -- it's the fourth largest in terms of purchasing power parity now. Inflation (is) broadly under control. We've lived through various decades with (inflation in) double digits. Today it is three or four per cent. A significant contribution to that is the oil budget.

"Exports are doing well. Last year the rupee strengthened against the dollar by four per cent. Exports still grew by over 18 per cent."

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