Joint fight against terrorism need of the hour: PM

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Beijing, Jan 15: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed grave concern over the recent turmoil in Pakistan, and called for putting up a collective fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

''As large and diverse societies, we are well placed to demonstrate the benefits of moderation and peaceful co-existence. The rise of non-state actors, often based on intolerance and narrow conceptions of identity, is a threat to all civilised nations,'' Dr Singh said while addressing the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on the third and last day of his China trip here. The Prime Minister asserted that terrorism posed the greatest danger to growth and development, pointing out that the menace manifested itself in ''extremism in the garb of religion or on the pretext of correcting historical wrongs''.

Making a case for civilian nuclear cooperation with China, he said the rapidly growing economies of India and China needed more energy to fuel the growth. In this context, he said, ''We have no choice but to widen our options for energy availability and develop viable strategies for energy security.''

He said the two countries could do much more to jointly develop clean and energy efficient technologies through collaborative research and development.

Dr Singh highlighted various aspects of the ties between the world's two most populous nations and scope to further consolidate relations in mutually beneficial areas.

He demanded ''democratisation'' of the United Nations Security Council, saying that the world body should reflect the reality of the present world.

''At the global level, our two countries should be at the forefront of the emergence of a more democratic global order and of multilateral approaches for resolving global issues,'' Dr Singh said.

He said Asia was more integrated than ever in terms of trade in goods and services and investment of capital and knowledge. ''We are discussing several constructive ideas for an open and inclusive economic set up, extending from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. We look forward to working with China in this pursuit.'' Dr Singh said all these objectives could be achieved by avoiding confrontation and building trust, confidence and consensus. ''It is only in an environment of peace that prosperity in Asia could be sustained.'' India and China have an important role to play in building peace, security and stability in the region, he added.

Highlighting the focus areas for future cooperation, Dr Singh said both the countries should work to bridge the knowledge gap, calling for more people-to-people contacts ''to remove misconceptions and prejudices''. There should be a broad-based comprehensive dialogue at the level of intelligentsia, media, non-governmental professionals and cultural exchanges.

Dr Singh said both the countries should learn from each other's development experiences. Both the countries should harness complimentarities and synergies in the areas of trade and business, he said.

Dr Singh said India's growing consumer market, skilled human resources, and software excellence together with China's own large market, its manufacturing prowess and cost competitiveness provided the platform for exponential growth in bilateral economic ties. ''China is already the second largest trading partner of India and both the countries have agreed to set a bilateral trade target of 60 billion dollars by 2010.'' The Prime Minister said both the countries were standing together at a stage when the centre of gravity of the world economy was moving towards Asia. ''Just as the world economy was largely about western nations in the 20th century, it could be largely about Asia in the 21st century. By the mid of the current century, Asia will account for more than 50 per cent of trade, income, saving, investment and financial transactions of the world,'' Dr Singh observed.

Expressing satisfaction over the pace and direction of talks for resolving the vexed border dispute, Dr Singh underlined the importance of the vision statement signed by the two countries yesterday.

The Prime Minister made it clear that both the countries would have to put their differences behind to take their relations forward.

Earlier, the Prime Minister was given a rousing welcome at the Academy. Established in 1977, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is the highest academic research organisation in the fields of philosophy and social sciences as well as a national center for comprehensive studies. Dr Singh told the gathering the significance of India, China relations in the changing world order and apprised them of the steps India was taking to enhance bilateral ties.

He gave the participants a birds eye view of India's economic policies and reforms.

Later in the day, Dr Singh will call on Chinese President Hu Jintao.

UNI

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