India committed to tackling terrorism: PM

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Srinagar, Oct 11: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said that his government is committed to tackling terrorism, but cautioned against labeling members of any community as terrorists.

Dr. Singh told reporters here on Friday that terrorism posed the biggest threat to the country.

"In reality the terrorism today poses a serious threat. We as a country and as a people have to work to tackle this menace. But in process of tackling, we must avoid profiling communities or labeling various communities as terrorists. Terrorists have no religion. Therefore, I think, terrorists have to be dealt with as terrorists rather than as belonging to particular communities," Singh said.

The Prime Minister also offered the prospect of new dialogue with Kashmiri separatists to end the violence in Jammu and Kashmir, and especially in the Kashmir Valley.

"Any separatist group that wants to meet with the government, they are welcome. In fact, in the last couple of years, I have had two meetings with representatives of Hurriyat. Even individually also, several leaders have met me," he said.

Speaking about the forthcoming assembly elections, Dr. Singh appealed to voters to take part in the forthcoming assembly elections in the state.

"I, therefore, appeal to all segments of Jammu and Kashmir, public opinion to participate in the electoral process. The Government is committed to ensuring free and fair polls. It is my earnest appeal to all segments of the population of Jammu and Kashmir to take advantage of this opportunity. In the democracy, ballot box rather than gun is the arbiter of people's destiny," Dr. Singh said.

A total of 6.5 million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise during the assembly elections.

According to government sources, elections in the state will be held in November in three to four phases.

Dr. Singh also said his government is committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan.

"We are committed to resolving all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan through peaceful dialogue. We welcome the return of democracy to Pakistan. We want this experiment in Pakistan to succeed," Singh said.

Dr. Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari met last month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session and decided to resume their strained peace process.

The two leaders directed their Foreign Secretaries to "schedule meetings of the fifth round of the composite dialogue in the next three months".

The Prime Minister justified the measures taken by the central bank to ease liquidity squeeze. He said though the Indian banking system was insulated against the types of problems faced by banks in the West the global financial crisis was putting severe strain on the exchange rate.

"The RBI has taken certain measures. Our banking system is not affected to the sane degree as the banking system of the western countries. Our exposure to those problem assets is not very large and our banks are very capitalized. Our banks don't face the danger, but there is a capital outflow from the country. It is putting pressure on the liquidity situation. It is also putting pressure on the exchange rate and the Reserve bank is injecting adequate liquidity into the system," he said.

ANI

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