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India wants purposive dialogue with Pak: PM

August 15, 2004 08:09 IST
Last Updated: August 15, 2004 08:37 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said India wants a "purposive bilateral dialogue" with Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues and asserted that the government will be firm in its fight against the menace of terrorism.

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In his first address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the prime minister said the edifice of peace that "we wish to build must stand on the twin pillars of mutual trust and confidence. Of course, trends of cross-border terrorism and violence make our task more difficult and complex."

Singh said "it is our intention to carry forward with firm resolve and sincerity the composite dialogue process with Pakistan."

"Terrorism is a threat to our normal lives and we must all unite in fighting it," Singh said.

"We will fight this menace to civilised existence with determination. There should be no doubt on this score," the prime minister asserted.

He, however, said that the government was "willing to talk to any group provided they abjure the path of violence."

Singh said India wished to live in peace in its neighbourhood and with the world as a whole.

"Even as we devote our attention to defence, we must pay heed to the needs of development. All our neighbours are, like us, developing countries whose priorities will also have to be the improvement of the quality of life of their citizens," he said.

The prime minister said India and its neighbours are not only bound together by common borders, but also by a common destiny.

"The assurance of peace and prosperity in our neighbourhood is an imporant priority for us," he said.

With regard to China, the prime minister said India is committed to strengthening and expanding its relations with Beijing. "We shall carry forward the process of discussion to resolve the boundary question with political vision and a practical approach."

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