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Not afraid of facing Parliament: Manmohan

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses a press conference onboard Air India aircraft en route to Japan on Monday for the G8 summit. National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, Prime Minister’s special envoy Shyam Saran and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon are seen.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses a press conference onboard Air India aircraft en route to Japan on Monday for the G8 summit. National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, Prime Minister’s special envoy Shyam Saran and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon are seen.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: K. Venugopal

K. Venugopal

We’re too big a country to bow to any other country; foreign policy determined by national interest

SAPPORO: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has declared that he does not need any advice from the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani about when to get the vote of confidence in Parliament for his government.

He said this at a press conference en route to Japan when he was asked how he would respond to Mr. Advani demanding that the government seek a vote of confidence in Parliament should the Left parties withdraw support. “We are not afraid of facing Parliament,” he said.

Yet on the nuclear deal, Dr. Singh said he was still trying to work for bringing all parties whether on the Right or the Left to see the government’s point of view. The deal was in the national interest and that he was willing to convince anyone that this would in no way compromise the independence of India’s foreign policy.

Any patriotic citizen would support the deal, he said, and when asked about whether he could yet persuade the Left to accept the viewpoint, he said: “I know they are patriotic…there is unfortunately differences in our perception and I sincerely hope we can find some way in which we can resolve these differences in a manner that the deal can go through.”

Alluding to the concerns the Left has about independent India’s foreign policy, he said that India was too big a country to bow to any other country. Its foreign policy would be determined only in reference to what was in the national interest.

“I do hope that we can work towards a broadbased consensus that this deal is good for India,” he said. “If there are any worries about India’s foreign policy strategic autonomy I am willing to give all assurances to all concerned. Our BJP colleagues came to me and they said well we have only one worry about the safety and effectiveness of our strategic programme and I went up to Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr. Advani and Mr. Brajesh Mishra were there and gave full assurance.

“To anyone who has genuine concern, I am willing to go to him and use all the efforts that I am capable [of] in convincing our friends whether of Right or Left that what we are doing is in India’s national interest,” he said.

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