Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the agitating youth in Kashmir that violence will not benefit anyone and that the government, within the framework of the State being an integral part of India, was willing to move forward in any talks with those who abjure violence.
Addressing the nation on the 64th Independence Day from the ramparts of historic Red Fort in New Delhi, he promised to carry on the recently initiated dialogue process with an emphasis that the Indian democracy has the “generosity and flexibility” to address concerns of any group.
While expressing deep regret for the loss of lives on the streets of Kashmir in the last two months, Dr. Singh left no one in doubt that the State is an integral part of India.
“Within this framework, we are ready to move forward in any talks which would increase the partnership of the common man in governance and also enhance their welfare,” he said as he unfurled the national tricolour for the seventh consecutive Independence Day.
“We are ready to talk to every person or group which abjures violence,” Dr. Singh said.
Referring to the recent unrest in Kashmir in which over 50 people lost their lives, he said, “The years of violence should now end. Such violence would not benefit anyone“.
Recalling that he recently participated in a meeting with political parties from Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “We will endeavour to take this process forward.”
In his 35-minute speech, Dr. Singh said the government wants to resolve all differences with Pakistan but made it clear that the dialogue cannot go far unless terrorism emanating from there ends.
With a host of leaders, including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and BJP Parliamentary Party Chairman L. K. Advani besides ministerial colleagues and diplomats in the audience, Dr. Singh said the government was working to create a new India where everyone would have access to better education, healthcare, food security and other benefits.