Situation in neighbourhood worsening: PM

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - 22:42

New Delhi: In a veiled reference to
Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the
situation in India`s immediate neighbourhood has worsened and
expressed deep concern over regular Intelligence reports of
"imminent" terror attacks in this country.

Addressing top commanders of defence services, he said
the defensive mechanisms needed to be improved against all
forms of terrorism, asymmetric warfare and aggravated
militancy.

He said both state and non-state actors are engaged in
the "business" of terrorism and the country needed to be
prepared to face "onslaughts" and "avoid kneejerk reactions".

Singh, while dwelling on the security scenario within
the country and its periphery, apparently referred to the
turmoil in Pakistan and said the "overall situation in our
immediate neighbourhood has worsened since I last spoke to you
(in April)".

He referred to last year`s Mumbai attacks and the
October 8 terror strike at the Indian Embassy in Kabul, which
he said was "yet another grim reminder of the forces" that
India is pitted against.

Singh noted that there has been no major terrorist
attack in India since the `horrific` Mumbai attacks but said
"there are regular Intelligence reports of imminent attacks in
the country. This is a matter of deep concern and there is no
room for complacency."

He said India, being a democracy and an open society, is
"sometimes highly vulnerable".

Inaugurating the day-long conference, which was also
addressed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home
Minister P Chidambaram, Singh spoke on the challenges posed by
terrorism, Naxalism, economic recession, climate change and
outlined the policy to deal with these.

Referring to the Mumbai attacks, he said the incident
had confirmed "our worst fears about the lethal dimensions of
terrorism and non-traditional threats to our security".

Observing that armed forces must be fully equipped to
deal with all threat scenarios, Singh said "our troops should
be trained to fight anywhere, anytime and under any
conditions. Their ability to deal with non-traditional threats
must receive greater attention."

He said the government is fully committed to the
modernisation of armed forces and ensuring their military
superiority and technological edge.

Singh also talked about the issue of nuclear
non-proliferation, expressing India`s readiness to participate
in negotiations on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty which is
"multilateral, non-discriminatory and verifiable".

On climate change, he accused the developed nations of
making "concerted attempts" to impose new obligations on
developing nations like India to limit greenhouse gas
emissions, which could impact the country`s economic
development.

He was optimistic on the economic front, saying the
growth rate was expected to be 6 to 6.5 per cent in the
current year.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - 22:42

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