Have minimum national discipline: PM asks mindset moulders

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New Delhi, Feb 15 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called for some degree of ''national discipline'' among political leaders, mediapersons, academicians and others who mould mindsets so that India could be turned into a great global power.

Blaming those who divided the pople on the basis of nativity, religion and caste for impeding the country's progress, Dr Singh said that in a democracy, internal cohesion ''cannot be forced.'' This was PM's first public comment on the violence in Maharashtra following Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray's opposition to people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar celebrating ''chhat puja'' in Mumbai and other parts of the state.

Addressing a function at his official residence after releasing a book, ''India to be a Global Power,'' authored by veteran Congress leader Vasant Sathe, the Prime Minister said such internal cohesion had to be consensually arrived at.

If India had to be self-reliant, it was important to manage the economy efficiently, operate on the frontiers of modern science and technology and pay adequate attention to the imperatives of national security. These were important attributes of a global power.

At the same time, the economic growth had to be inclusive as unless all sections of society felt they were part of the processes of change and that they were active participants the country would not be able to move forward as a nation.

In this context, India's external strength could only be based on internal cohesion. ''An internally divided and divisive society cannot project an external image of stregth and power. And I think this is a guideline which should guide the acts of all political parties.

''Those who seek to divide our people on the basis of religion, on the basis of caste or differences to which place one belongs, I think they do not serve the cause of national unity or national progress,'' he said.

There was need to find practical, pragmatic pathways to deal with these tendencies which if not curbed could have destabilising consequences, he said.

''But I do recognise that we are a functioning democracy.

Therefore, the internal cohesion, that I am talking about cannot be forced. It cannot be imposed. That is not the way in which the Indian people wish to govern themselves.

''Therefore, all those who influence the mindsets of our people, whether they are in the academic institutions, whther they are in the media or other institutions, they have an obligation to lay proper emphasis on the need for a minimumk amount of national discipline, if our country has to realise its ambitions to emerge as a great power.'' UNI SN MSJ GC2003

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