New Delhi, Aug.15 : Delivering his fifth consecutive Independence Day speech on the occasion of India's 62nd Independence Day on Friday, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh said that fighting terrorism was a major challenge before the country, but added that the best way to combat and counter it, was through dialogue.
"Terrorism, extremism, communalism and fundamentalism have emerged as major challenges to the unity and integrity of our country. The recent terrorist attacks in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and other parts of the country have shocked the nation. What words can I find to condemn such acts of barbarism. I share the sorrow and grief of people affected by terrorism. The Government of India will take concrete steps to rehabilitate and help such families," he said.
Stressing upon his Government's resolve to meet the challenge of terrorism, Dr. Singh appealed to the State Governments, all political parties, civil society groups and social and religious leaders to cooperate in rooting out terrorism from the country.
He said initiatives are being taken to promote peace and stability in the North Eastern region and Jammu and Kashmir.
"We wish all our neighbours well. We welcome the strengthening of democratic forces in our neighbourhood, especially in Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan. The recent blasts in our Embassy in Kabul (July 7) have cast a shadow over our efforts to normalize relations with Pakistan and to bring a lasting and honourable peace in our region. I have personally conveyed my concern and disappointment to the Government of Pakistan," he said.
"If this issue of terrorism is not addressed, all the good intentions that we have for our two peoples to live in peace and harmony will be negated. We will not be able to pursue the peace initiatives we want to take. The terrorists and those who support them are enemies of the people of India and Pakistan, of friendship between the two countries and of peace in the region and the world. We must defeat them," he said.
Calling for the defeat of terrorism, the Prime Minister emphasized that terrorists and those who support them are enemies of the people of India and Pakistan and of peace in the region and the world.
"If this issue of terrorism is not addressed, all the good intentions that we have for our two peoples to live in peace and harmony will be negated. Let us resolve today to stand together, to strengthen the unity and integrity of our country and to stand firm in our determination to build a new India of our dreams," he said.
"I commend our security forces and intelligence agencies for the dedication with which they are dealing with the problem under difficult circumstances. But I agree that we have to further strengthen our intelligence agencies and police forces to deal with the problem of terrorism," he added.
He also said that his government would examine the functioning of our intelligence agencies and police and security forces and take all possible steps to equip them to tackle this challenge.
"Whatever resources are required, will be provided. Whatever manpower is required will be provided. We are firm in our resolve to meet the challenge of terrorism. I urge the State Governments, all political parties, civil society groups and social and religious leaders to cooperate with us in rooting out terrorism from our country," he added.
"I am confident that we will overcome these challenges. But this requires hard work and unity of purpose. This requires a politics of consensus, not confrontation. This requires dialogue among communities, not discord. The challenge of communalism, of extremism and of terrorism cannot be won by a nation divided," he concluded.