India will walk an "extra mile" to open a new chapter in relations with Pakistan if it decisively acts against terrorism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Riyadh today.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday reiterated that all problems between India and Pakistan can be resolved through meaningful bilateral dialogue if only Pakistan would take a more reasonable attitude to deal with terrorist elements who target India.
“I hope that the world community gets the right message that India is a victim of terrorism. That we have a situation where our neighbour has promised, unambiguously, not to allow its territory to be used for perpetrating terrorist acts directed against India and yet on the ground progress has been rather nil.” The Prime Minister is returning home after a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia.
Elaborating further, Dr. Singh said: “We are living today in an increasingly interdependent world and whosoever I meet — the world leaders — I convey to them that all problems between India and Pakistan can be resolved through meaningful bilateral dialogue if only Pakistan would take a more reasonable attitude in dealing with those terrorist elements who target our country.”
His observations came within hours of his address at the Majlis al-Shura in Riyadh, where he chose to dwell upon India-Pakistan relations, stressing that India can walk the extra mile to open a new chapter in relations between the two countries. “If Pakistan cooperates with India, there is no problem that we cannot solve.”
Dr. Singh’s observations at the Majlis al-Shura carry special significance as they were delivered in the land that is considered to be the cradle of Islam and he was bestowed the rare honour of addressing it.
Emphasising that India sought cooperation with Pakistan , Dr. Singh told the Shura members that India’s objective was permanent peace because it recognised that both the countries were bound by a shared future. “If there is cooperation between India and Pakistan, vast opportunities will open up for travel, trade and development that will create prosperity in both countries and in South Asia as a whole. But to realise this vision, Pakistan must act decisively against terrorism.”
Replying to another question on board the special aircraft, Dr. Singh said the Saudi Arabian leadership has a better understanding of the predicament that India faced both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. “There is a great deal of sympathy and support for India’s point of view that what we are asking for is very reasonable.”
To another query on the possible role of Saudi Arabia, he told journalists onboard, that in his discussions with top Saudi leadership, including King Abdullah, he explained the role terrorism aided, abetted and inspired by Pakistan was playing in India. “I did not ask His Majesty to do anything, but use his good offices to persuade Pakistan to desist from this path.”
On the recent hike in petrol prices effected in the budget, the Prime Minister felt a long term view has to be taken, but admitted that any increase in prices did hurt some people. Admitting that the government could not save people from inflation if it followed, all along, populist fiscal policies, he said such policies would lead to erosion in investment climate, the capacity to create more jobs and in the ability to invest in flagship programme for the poor. “So we have to balance these factors. In the current hike in fuel prices, the direct effect on wholesale price index will be no more than 0.4 per cent.”