Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Manmohan reminds Pak: Our destinies interlinked

Assuring the newly elected leadership in Pakistan that India seeks good relations with the neighbour, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday hoped the two sides would work on a framework for enduring peace.

"India wants to live in peace with Pakistan. The destinies of our two nations are interlinked. We need to put the past behind us," he said while replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to President's Address in the Lok Sabha.

"We need to think about our collective destiny, our collective security, our collective prosperity," he said while assuring the newly elected leadership in Pakistan that India seeks "good relations" with it.

Singh noted that in their first pronouncement after the recent elections in Pakistan, leaders of main political parties have spoken of their interest in developing close relations with India and working with it to bring about durable peace.

He said the dialogue resumed with Pakistan over the last few years was started when Benazir Bhutto and Rajiv Gandhi were Prime Ministers.

Singh surprised the opposition BJP by describing steps taken by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his then Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif as "most courageous".

"The most courageous steps to build peace were taken by Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. We have continued the process with President Musharraf."

Singh said in both India and Pakistan there was a consensus to have close and cooperative relations and a framework for enduring peace.

"I hope that the newly elected leaders in Pakistan can quickly move forward with us on this," he said.

Congratulating the people of Pakistan for showing that they want to choose the democratic path, he extended "warmest good wishes" of the people and the Government of India as they consolidate democracy.

"A great daughter of Pakistan had to sacrifice her life in the process. We mourned with profound sadness the death of Benazir Bhutto," he said adding "the people of Pakistan have paid their tributes to her memory in their own way.

The Prime Minister said India wanted peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia. "We want mutually beneficial relations with all our neighbours, with all major powers and with all our economic partners."


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