PM CALLS FOR ZERO TOLERANCE
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s tough talk on zero tolerance to cross-boeder terrorism overshadowed his call to India’s neighbours to plug into each other’s economies.Even as he made a persuasive case for economic integration and set forth a connectivity agenda,it was india’s resolve to combat terrorism that came through.
There should be zero tolerance for cross-border terrorism (read Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir) and harbouring hostile insurgent groups and criminal elements(read North-East insurgents getting a safe haven in Bangladesh),said Singh.
The PM’s statement clearly took off from his strong reaction after the Delhi blasts of October 29.He also sounded a word of caution about any member-country allowing its territory to be used against the interests of another member-country.His speech however,was no single-isue advocacy.
Though economic progress in Saarc is othing to write home bout, the economist in Manmohan nevertheless took over on Saturday to announce a slew of unilateral measures to bolster land and air connectivity between the seven member-states .We need to recharge and regenerate the arteries of transport and communication that bind us together and in turn link our region to the rest of Asia to reclaim the prosperity that is undoubtedly our due,said Singh,during the inauguration of the 13th Saarc summit.
The underlying message was that the member-states should plug into each other’s economies to reap benefits since South Asia,with one-fifth of humanity,is the only region without any regional trading arrangement,even as the rest of the world is rapidly moving ahead with blocs like Asean,EU,NATA,Mercosur and the like.
Asking for freer movement of goods and people across borders, the PM urged all member-countries to provide to each other,reciprocally ,transit facilities to third countries ,not only connecting to the larger Asian neighbourhood in the Gulf,Central Asia and South-East Asia.India which borders each of the Saarc members is willing to do so,he said.India is also prepared to offer to all saarc neighbours on a reciprocal basis and without prejudice to existing rights, the facility of daily air services by designated airlines to New Delhi,Mumbai,Chennai,Bangalore.Hyderabad and Kolkata, and as many services as they wish ,to 18 other destinations all across India,he added.
While this open skies policy on the lines of similar agreements India has clinched with Asean countriesand SriLanka,could indeed take off,transit facilities will take a lot of doing.Pakistan ,for instance ,is vehemently against granting transit facilities to India fpr Afghanistan ,forcing it to take a circuitous route through Iran.
‘Sreeram’ is the pen name of the above abstract writer. His name in the professional field is V.Sree Rama Rao, B.E. ( Mech ), MIMA, M.I.E. is a Techno- commercial business consultant based at Mumbai the financial capital of India. He can be contacted on
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