SHRI P.G. NARAYANAN (CONTD.): I also feel that in our country, the percentage of R&D to GDP is much less in comparison to other Asian giants like China, Japan and Korea. The Government should, therefore, concentrate to increase the percentage ratio of R&D to GDP, particularly, in science sector.
Since there is a crisis in human resource management in science and technology system, efforts should be made to elicit support and financial resources from private sector as well. Sir, time has come when industry needs to join hand with Government to enhance the image of the country internationally in the field of science and technology. Thank you, Sir.
SHRI R.K. DHAWAN (BIHAR): Thank you, Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, for having given me this opportunity.
I rise to support the Motion of Thanks to the hon. President for his Address to both Houses of Parliament. Sir, before I say anything on the Address or express my views on the President's Address, I would like to say that I have listened to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition with great attention. Sir, he is a very experienced, educated and well-articulated leader, but I am sorry to say that his speech is devoid of any heart or conviction. Probably, he had his party's compulsions for this. Sir, there is no doubt that for a healthy parliamentary functioning, the need of having an opposition cannot be underestimated. But that does not mean that it should see dark cloud in every sliver lining.
Sir, I do not know whether the Leader of the Opposition would like to subscribe to the quotation of Ernest John Benn when he said and I quote, "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." I don't know whether he would like to subscribe to this or not. Sir, his speech also reminds me of a quotation by the British Prime Minister Lord Roseberry which he said about his friend and opponent, Lord Randolph Churchill. And what did the Prime Minister say? I quote, "The ambitious man, who can watch without sourness the rise of a contemporary, is much rarer than a black swan." This is the quotation of the British Prime Minister.
Sir, I have also listened to the speech of Janeshwar Mishraji. He is also a very seasoned, senior leader, has been a Minister, has been in politics for a number of years. Sir, I think, he forgot that he was speaking on the President's Address. He was speaking only on the Budget, and so is the case with my friend, Mr. Yechury. He is also a very learned historian, intellectual and an economist, but his speech was also not entirely on the President's Address. Probably, this is his first term in this House. I do not know, I wonder how did he expect the President to deal with all these subjects in his Address because the President's Address always mentions broadly the state of the nation and the direction by the Government and the policies to be followed. It cannot go into the details which Janeshwar Mishraji or Yechuriji or what my friend from AIADMK was mentioning. (Contd. by 3o/SKC)
SHRI R. K. DHAWAN (CONTD.): Sir, reverting to the Address by the hon. President, it is a Constitutional requirement. We all know that it is a policy statement of the Government. But, Sir, its roots go back to the British Convention. We all know -- perhaps some of us who may not have read the history may not be knowing -- that one of the charges against Prince Charles-I who was tried, convicted and executed, was that he had entered the House of Commons. In order to overcome this problem, a convention was established in Britain enabling the King to wrest the vows of Parliament and to say that he is part of the Parliament. This convention was recognized by the framers of our Constitution and they provided the same when they enacted Article 79. Article 79 of the Constitution provides, and I quote, "There shall be a Parliament for the Union which shall consist of the President and the two Houses, known respectively as the Council of States and the House of the People". This is behind the institution of Address by the President to both the Houses of Parliament.
Sir, it is in consonance with this provision and established principle that I rise to support the Motion of Thanks to the hon. President. Before I say something more on the Address and the points mentioned therein, I would like to say a few words about the coalition dharma adopted by the Congress Party. When this UPA was formed, there were scores of questions, queries and conjectures as to whether this coalition would last or not. Questions were raised about the constituents of UPA. Great apprehensions were expressed as to whether the Congress Party, which does not have any experience of coalition, would be able to hold all these parties together, and I think they were hoping against hope that this Government would fall sooner than later. Probably they have not yet recovered from the defeat they had got at the hands of the public in 2004. Many astrologers also came to their rescue, many predictions were made, that the Congress will not be able to hold the coalition together and they would perhaps come back to power again. But, unfortunately, Congress belied their expectations and the functioning of UPA during the last three years has shown that it has the capacity to run the coalition Government, not only to run, but run in a better fashion than any other party. The leadership of the Congress Party, their vision, their tact, deserves congratulations because they were able to keep the UPA united. Sir, it was also the vision, the direction and advice of the Chairperson of the UPA that helped the coalition to run efficiently.
Sir, as I had said before, the Address by the President is a policy document of the Government. If somebody asks me, what is the major contribution, the main achievement, of the Government, I would say, with due respect to my friends, especially Mr. Yechury, who spoke at length about secularism, that the biggest achievement of the UPA Government has been the regeneration of the national spirit of secularism which is the fabric of national unity and which our friends opposite did not spare any opportunity to destroy.
(Contd. by 3p)
SHRI R.K. DHAWAN (CONTD.): Sir, secularism is now free from the clutches of such elements and it is this spirit of secularism which has permeated to every institution of the nation and restored in the Indian polity values of India's ancient civilization which has assimilated diverse cultures and religions for centuries. Sir, if there is any country in the world, who can legitimately take pride for being in the vanguard of nations for inclusive and secular culture, I am proud to say, it is India. Sir, in getting the country back from the brink of divisiveness and ultimate disintegration, infusing new life into the secular fabric of the nation and consolidating the forces of secularism in this ancient land, history shall always remain beholden to the vision, the tireless efforts and the fighting spirit of the UPA Chairperson, Shrimati Sonia Gandhi. It is she who was the spirit behind to keep the secularism intact because she realises that the greatest danger to the country comes from communal forces and they must be defeated if India was to survive. She believes in what Abraham Joshua said. I quote him. He said, "Racism is the man's greatest threat to man, the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reasons." Sir, it was she who travelled across the country, towns, streets, lanes, cities and villages. Sir, she is the stellar force who was able to keep different political parties together irrespective of their different ideologies and different programmes. Sir, coming to the Address by the hon. President, even the briefest glance at the Address shows ubiquity and visibility more now than any time since 1990. Since May 2004, the UPA has successfully translated the mandate of people into a new agenda of governance aimed at providing a responsible, responsive and inclusive Government. Sir, the UPA Government pledged itself to preserve, protect and promote social harmony among the different sections of people. Sir, the Government express its commitment to ensure that the economy grows at 7 to 8 per cent in a sustained manner and in a manner that creates employment. Sir, the Government, as the hon. President has said in his Address, has been not only able to maintain this, but this economic rise is likely to be up to 9 per cent. Sir, in a country where labour power is the only economic asset for the millions of people, gainful employment opportunities becomes the only channel for the fulfilment of the other basic rights -- the right to work, the right to food and the right to education. (Contd. by 3q/KSK)
SHRI R.K. DHAWAN (CONTD): Sir, when the UPA Government was formed, it was aware of the hardships, the problems, the difficulties being faced by the farmers and their worsening economic situation, the lack of remunerative prices, the lack of supply of electricity, lack of seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and basically, the lack of credit facilities. Sir, the UPA Government, when it took office, committed itself to enhance the welfare of the farmers, the farm workers and farm labour and assure a secure future for their families. Sir, why the situation arose is also a big question. There are many other facts which need attention, but, at the same time, we should not ignore the basic fact that explosion of population has created tremendous strain on the agricultural produce. Sir, as we also know, there is no immediate solution to the population problem or to check it, we have to live with it for years. In order to check the prices, uplift the plight of farmers who constitute majority of the Indian population, to fight the poverty at the grass root level, massive investment in the latest technological advancement in the agricultural field coupled with amelioration of plight of farmers and provision of credible incentives to them to increase production has become most imperative in the present circumstances. What we need at the moment is the second Green Revolution in agriculture about which hon. President has referred to in his Address. I just want to remind the House that when Mrs. Gandhi took over the Prime Ministership, she brought about the Green Revolution, and in less than a decade, she turned the starving and hopelessly dependent India on the doles of the United States into a massive surplus food producing country. Sir, tremendous agricultural development was maintained by Shri Rajiv Gandhi. But, as the years passed by, the momentum of increased production was lost. Sir, it is heartening to note that the hon. President, in his Address, has outlined the commitment of the Government to increase the rate of investment in agriculture and take credible measures to increase farmers' income and welfare, including bringing new technologies and farming systems, improving marketing channels, better management facilities and generation of better returns to the farmers and unleashing the second Green Revolution. Ushering in of the second Green Revolution needs to be accorded top priority, to which the Government is committed, as mentioned by the hon. President in his speech. Sir, needless to say that next to agriculture comes the need of having a revolutionary development in infrastructure. We can neither develop agriculture nor industry until and unless we develop power. We cannot make India into a modern and a leading industrial country unless we develop our seaports, our airports, our highways, our rail and road network. We cannot integrate North-East culturally and politically with the rest of India unless we integrate it geographically and this is possible only if we build rail, roads and national highways across the North-East having connectivity with the rest of India. Sir, in his Address, the hon. President has dwelt with all these aspects and enumerated the measures contemplated in this regard.
(continued by 3r - gsp)
SHRI R.K. DHAWAN (CONTD.): Sir, the UPA and its supporters are striving hard to stand by the commitment to unleash the creative energies of our entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers for promotion of public-private enterprises in various fields, and, other professionals so that they become the productive forces of our society to make the Government transparent and accountable.
Sir, if I may say so, the UPA Government has assiduously worked to create a massive inclusive society, a caring polity and a more equitable economy, and, is adhering to the principle that growth, stability and equality are mutually reinforcing objectives.
Sir, the hon. President has declared in his Address, and, I quote, "My Government has decided that the goal of the Eleventh Plan would be to ensure that economic growth is just not faster but also more inclusive and equitable."
Sir, the fundamental task of the UPA Government is to generate good feelings in those they lead and is keeping in mind that the Government is an agency to execute the wishes of the people. Sir, as far as my knowledge goes, there is apparent agreement among the political parties that the women as a collective unity are the worst victims of economic and political marginalisation. Sir, the UPA Government expressed its commitment to empower women politically, economically and legally to provide equality of opportunities. Sir, under the UPA Government, the women have acquired their immediately required rights in the economic field through the amended Succession Act, and, in the social field through the Domestic Violence Act.
Sir, in the political field, providing a reservation in legislative bodies will give them adequate powers and positions in the country. Sir, the reservation system will provide impetus to women for political participation; political participation will turn into political emancipation of women which will help to uplift women at social level because sharing of power will give them opportunities and choices that will certainly help to reduce all sorts of ill-treatment and problems of under-privileged.
Sir, Mr. Yechury said, other friends have also said, some other will also speak that difference of opinion relating to methods of empowerment cannot defeat the intent of doing so. Sir, under the able leadership of Shrimati Sonia Gandhi, the Chairperson of the UPA, the Congress Party has taken a vow to fulfil it. Sir, apart from implementing the various initiatives listed in the National Common Minimum Programme, the Government has also launched various other schemes such as Bharat Nirman. These initiatives have the potential to transform India.
Sir, an important contribution of the UPA to the life of the citizens, which can neither be listed as a programme or policy, nor can be quantified in statistical terms, is the sense of security and well being of the weaker sections of the society, especially the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, women, children and minorities.
Sir, a question was also raised as to how the Government will acquire the financial resources. Sir, I have a very strong feeling that continued economic growth and prudent fiscal management will enable the Government to mobilise the required resources, to finance the many initiatives taken during the year, especially the Employment Guarantee Scheme and the new investment in education, health and rural infrastructure. (Contd. by 3s-sk)
SHRI R.K. DHAWAN (CONTD.): Sir, as mentioned by the Hon. President in his Address, the Government will be pursuing a number of measures for judicial reforms with a view to reducing number of pending cases and the time taken for deciding cases. Sir, accountability and strengthening of the mechanism and introduction of a Local Courts Bill are being put in to solve the problem being faced by many people.
Sir, if we examine the initiatives and strengthening of on-going programmes dispassionately and may not be laid down or guided by political considerations, we will unhesitatingly come to the conclusion that the suggested measures will promote development and make our society more inclusive and equitable, make our economy more efficient and competitive, increase employment opportunities, empower Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities, women and children and restore to our country its due place in the Comity of Nations.
Sir, the UPA Government has proved, to the dismay of my friends sitting opposite, I can understand their anguish and desperation, that it has delivered substantially on its commitments. Never before has a Government fulfilled so many commitments of its programmes in such a short time. Sir, my colleagues will speak at length about other various issues, initiatives, new programmes of the Government, covering different strata of society, and I would not like to take the time of the House to repeat those. The Bills passed by the Government, by this august House, have already been circulated by the Secretariat. However, there are certain areas such as Panchayati Raj, Defence and Foreign Policy on which I want to share my views in this august House.
Sir, the President has referred in his Address to the Government's commitment to deepening the Panchayati Raj. Coming to it, it was Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, who was inspired by the vision of involving the people in the social and economic field at the grass-root level. It was Shri Rajiv Gandhi who realised that if India was to progress, a revolutionary thrust had to be given to the devolution of the power to the people at grass-root level by means of strengthening the organs of local Government. Sir, his dream and vision ultimately became a Constitutional reality when the Constitution of India was amended and the Panchayati Raj Institution was established. However, although the Constitution amendment established Panchayats, no powers or authority were conferred upon them. The Constitution Amendment provided that the Panchayats would exercise such powers as are conferred upon them by the State Legislature. Sir, the Panchayati Raj Institution, therefore, became Constitutional Institution without any power and when the Legislatures of the States became tardy, Constitution of India was of no help to these Panchayati Raj Institutions. It is high time that Parliament takes notice on this and rectify this Constitutional anomaly and for this it is not necessary that the Constitution has to be amended. Parliament is fully empowered under the Constitution to confer power of social and economic planning on the Panchayats through ordinary law.
So far as social and economic planning in India is concerned, Sir, the Congress Party leaders had long emphasised the importance of planning as well as their belief that it should be among the Union's powers.
(Contd by 3T)
SHRI R.K. DHAWAN (CONTD.): That was their dream. Sir, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and others had preached the virtues of planning during the 1920's. The Congress established a National Planning Committee under the Chairmanship of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1937. Sir, as brought out by Austin in his famous book on Panchayat, three times during the negotiations during the Cabinet Mission, the Congress leadership made it clear that the Central Government under any constitutional scheme must bear the responsibility for national planning. This was their vision that the social and economic planning should remain under the charge of the Central Government.
Sir, the Members of the Mission, if any of my senior members know, could not agree to this. However, although the final report of the Union's Powers Committee merely expressed the hope that planning would, by agreement, be included within the scope of Union's powers, the second Union's Powers Committee Report provided, after the announcement of partition, "economic and social planning" as an item on the Concurrent List. It remained in the draft Constitution which was finally adopted by the Constituent Assembly.
Now the subject of 'economic and social planning' figures, as many of us know, at Entry No.20 in the Concurrent List of the Constitution of India.
Sir, the question, therefore, is this. Having ensured the democratic establishment of Panchayati Raj, why should not such powers of social and economic planning be conferred on it by Parliament when it is already covered under the Concurrent List (Entry No.20)?
Sir, in my opinion, this goal can be achieved only by a simple amendment, by an appropriate law passed by Parliament. It does not need a constitutional amendment.
Sir, the scope of this Entry also came up for interpretation before the Supreme Court of India in the case of Maneklal vs. M.G. Makwana reported in AIR 1967 SC page 1373.
Sir, the Supreme Court referred it to the various authorities for expounding the scope of this Entry and came to the conclusion that this could be conferred upon the panchayats as per the Entry No.20 in the Concurrent List.
Sir, I, therefore, suggest that Parliament may make law conferring authority on or delegating its function of social and economic planning to the aforesaid local bodies or such committees thereof as may be prescribed by the said law or the rules framed by the Central Government.
Sir, the law so made by Parliament can be called 'Town and Country Act' as it is called in the United Kingdom. This will be a Central Act. This will be uniformly applicable to all the local institutions throughout the country.
Sir, the President in his Address has emphasised the unshakable commitment of the Government towards the defence of the country and has outlined the proposed measures such as to maintain focus on strengthening the defence of the country, investment in modernisation of the Armed Forces, and of our indigenous defence industry. This is what he has focused in his address.
Sir, as far as my knowledge goes, a lot of work is being done in this field. The Leader of the Opposition devoted a lot of time on defence, but he really forgot to go through what the President said.
If I may say so, Sir, and if my knowledge is correct, the Government is going towards comprehensive capability creation in the defence services in consonance with force levels of our potential adversaries as well as the current state of defence technologies and the long timeframes for upgrades, etc. (Contd. by VKK/3U)
SHRI R.K. DHAWAN (CONTD.): Sir, the formal approvals for the same will be issued well in advance so that the next defence planning framework spanning the next five years is started before the commencement of the Plan. Sir, this alone would guarantee that the modernisation effort of the service takes place in a well-synchronised, focussed and prioritised manner.
Sir, the real transformation in the defence sector can come about only when the domestic private industrial base starts contributing substantially to the modernization and maintenance needs of the three Services. Sir, it is heartening to note that the Government has taken specific measures in this regard to encourage private participation in defence requirements.
Sir, the empowering of the defence industrial capabilities also holds enormous potential for export of defence goods and services to a larger number of countries. Sir, this, however, would be feasible only through sustained encouragement and a truly level-playing field for the blossoming of the Indian private sector with the impending sizeable investment inflows through the defence offsets route. Sir, the Government is taking necessary action in this regard.
Sir, it is also necessary that Defence R&D must become a truly joint endeavour among DRDO, Defence public sector, ordnance factories, India private sector and other Governmental agencies and scientific institutions. Sir, the Leader of Opposition has referred to separate efforts of Army, Air Force and Navy. But, he has forgotten that the significant benefits which accrue from the pursuit of comprehensive jointness among the three Services spanning the areas of doctrine, planning, operations, training and maintenance infrastructure. Sir, as mentioned by the Leader of Opposition, if separate roles are assigned to the three wings of the Armed Forces, then, this will not be possible to achieve. Sir, we have taken....(Interruptions)... I know he wanted to speak, but, I also have to go somewhere.
Sir, our colleagues and senior leaders also referred to the Foreign Policy. Sir, the President has dealt at length with his Government's Foreign Policy. Sir, I must confess, I do not claim to have deep understanding or knowledge of international affairs of Foreign Policy. But having watched from close quarters for almost 40 years, framing of the Foreign Policy and a bit study of history in this regard, I can claim that I too have acquired some knowledge. Based on this, I would like to share my views with this august House.
Sir, at the outset, I would like to say that if we keep our eyes open, their vision will make us realise that the UPA Government has strengthened India's external profile and improved India's standing in the world. Our relations with our neighbours, with all major powers and with all our economic partners have improved in the last two years. This is a matter of fact and a matter of record. Sir, international as well as regional environment is more hospitable and is more conducive to our economic development and national security.
(Contd. by RSS/3w)
SHRI R.K. DHAWAN (CONTD.): Sir, the supreme consideration, which must govern the foreign policy of a nation, is the interest of her national security. The chequered policy history of post independence India bears eloquent testimony to this dictum. Whenever a country has shaped its foreign policy on the basis of any principle or ideology or any other consideration, ignoring the interest of her national security, it has suffered. Sir, this is a matter of record. History tells us that for centuries, Britain conducted her foreign policy on the principle of balance of power, for Britain had realized that it was contrary to her national security and vital national interests that any other country should become more powerful than her. In one of his books, Winston Churchill wrote, I quote: "This Sinister, Soviet country which I tried to strangulate at its birth...." As we all know, he was an impeccable foe of the Soviet Union. It is a matter of history. Sir, when the Nazi danger started looming across the horizon of Europe, it was Churchill who was the first conservative leader in England to raise his voice that she must come to terms with the Soviet Union. His advice was ignored by Chamberlain and other diehard conservatives, who did not realize that Hitler's Germany posed a threat to England and remained stuck in their ideological revulsion against the Soviet Union, and for this folly, England had to pay a very heavy price. So, Stalin was left with no choice but to conclude a pact with Hitler, and the latter, having ensured German security on the eastern front, plunged the world into the Second World War.
In fact, Stalin's pact with Hitler is the classic example in history of sacrifice of ideology by a nation for the sake of its security in the field of foreign policy.
From the point of view of India's national security, one of the greatest achievements of India's foreign policy was her deep and abiding friendship with the Soviet Union. For the course which the USA adopted in striking military alliance and creating military blocks with Pakistan and inducting massive military aid to that country in early fifties, had created a dangerous situation for India in her neighbourhood in view of the bitter hostility which existed between India and Pakistan in the context of Kashmir and the blatant intent of Pakistan to grab Kashmir by force.
It was Shri Jawaharlal Nehru who publicly declared that the USA could no longer be treated as neutral in Kashmir. When Soviet Union invaded Hungary in 1950's, despite strong disapproval by Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, India did not condemn her and did not succumb to the pressure of bitter sarcasm by the West. For Shri Jawaharlal Nehru was conscious that it was not in the interest of India and her friendship with the Soviet Union which was so vital to her national security that India should have strained her relations with the Soviet Union. Sir, there is another example. When Shrimati Indira Gandhi realized that the events in Bangladesh might impel Pakistan to thrust war upon India, she concluded the Indo-Soviet friendship treaty. This was all being done by keeping national security in mind. By one stroke, she assured the security of Sino-Indian frontier and neutralized the temptation which other powers might have had to embroil themselves in the possible Indo-Pakistan conflict. (contd. by 3x)
SHRI R.K. DHAWAN (CONTD.): Sir, the policy of non-alignment which Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru shaped was no less dictated by her national interests, which were also in the interest of the third world and the erstwhile colonial countries. Sir, in the last 20 years, the world has changed, and so also the imperatives of India's foreign policy. This is the point which I want to highlight. It has changed because the events have changed. So, the imperatives of Indian foreign policy have also changed.
Sir, the Soviet Union, as we all know, has disintegrated. Military blocks, of which Pakistan was a member, have disappeared.
Sir, it is also a matter of fact, whether we accept it or not, whether my friends outside, and on the opposite especially, just opposite, accept it or not, that the USA has also acquired awesome power of influence in areas of conflict in any part of the world. The role which the USA played during the Kargil War is the telling reminder of the power of the USA to influence the course of events in the Indian Sub-Continent and the radical change which has taken place in her relations with India and Pakistan.
Sir, the USA is also deeply, directly or indirectly, involved in the affairs of Pakistan in her fight against terrorism. But, Sir, the point worth noting is that the USA is no longer aligned with Pakistan insofar as India and her national interests are concerned. That is the basic thing which has surfaced now.
It was, Sir, President Musharraf who realised immediately after the destruction of the World Trade Centre in 1972 and 2001 that it was in the interest of Pakistan and the security of Pakistan to cooperate with the USA. He took, Sir, no time to reverse the old policy of Pakistan of support to Talibans in Afghanistan. He projected himself as the strong supporter of the USA in her fight against terrorism and fundamentalism.
He was astute enough, Sir, to realise that Pakistan's national security and her national interests lay in aligning himself with the USA.
Sir, the basis of alignment of Pakistan with USA today is, however, entirely different from what it was when the Soviet Union was in existence. That is entirely different.
So far as India is concerned, her biggest security problem, at present, is cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.
Sir, as we all know, despite repeated promises and declarations, Pakistan has failed to fulfil its commitment to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism.
Sir, terrorism is the calculated policy which Pakistan launched against India more than a decade ago in order to tire and bleed her for wresting control of Kashmir.
Now, there are ominous signs that insidious attempts are being made by some fundamental elements in Pakistan which are hostile to India to spread terrorism to different parts of the country.
Such attempts point to an agenda which is destructive of India's stability and integrity. In the fight against terrorism, India's national interests coincide with those of the USA.
Sir, with the people of Pakistan, India shares common culture, common history and common language. It is only through increased interaction between the people of Pakistan and the people of India that peace between the two countries can be secured and their problems can be mutually resolved with amity.
Sir, the peace bus from Srinagar to Muzaffarabad was a big step forward in this direction. The encounters between the two countries in the field of cricket have also played a significant role. And in the course of conversation, Sir,--history tells us--President Nixon, during his visit to China, Mao Tse Tung had stated:
"But rather than deciding that we stuck with our own stand that without settling major issues there is nothing to do with the smaller issues. I myself persisted in that position. Later on, I saw that you were right and we played table tennis." (Contd. by VK/3Y)
SHRI R.K. DHAWAN (CONTD): Similar transformation has taken place over the years in the approach of President Musharraf and that augurs well for peace in the Indian subcontinent.
If the age old hostilities between France and Germany could vanish through establishment of the European Union there is no reason why India and Pakistan cannot come together to restore the common destiny of their people hallowed by centuries of shared history.
Establishment of SAARC Parliament will be a big step forward in the unfolding Indo-Pakistan peace process.
` But the present reality cannot be ignored. If there was no threat to her national security, India would not be spending billions of rupees annually on her defence preparedness.
It is, therefore, in the interest of national security of India, her integrity and stability that India must expand the frontiers of friendship and cooperation with the USA, much to the dislike of some friends sitting opposite, notwithstanding her continuing, abiding and vital friendship with Russia.
It is not in the interest of India to act in a manner that is likely to jeopardize the process of expansion of those frontiers with the USA.
The proposed agreement to resume civil nuclear energy cooperation between the two countries is a tremendous step forward in this direction. This was followed by the signing of the New Frame Work for Indo-US Defence Relationship in June, 2005.
Commonality of approach with the USA on issues which relate to their national security does not and cannot, I want to assure the hon. House, mean subservience to the interests and policies of the USA.
Support of the USA on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation in Iran is, therefore, the national imperative of India's foreign policy.
Any stand to the contrary would have been at the peril of India's national security. One must not forget that. Cooperation between India and the USA, economic cooperation between the two countries has become indispensable and integral part of India's foreign policy vis-a-vis the United States, as, in fact, any other country in the modern day world.
If the Congress led Government allows the foreign policy of India to be communalised under threats of a 'Third Front' with other political parties who are bent upon exploiting some religious sentiments and playing the card of communal vote bank, it will be the most grievous blow to India's national security and her secular fabric.
I would just like to say that our Prime Minister is not a natural born politician. He has been chosen by providence to do greater things and to serve the country and this is a key factor in his drive. His nationalism is deeply felt and well articulated. He is not the one who needs to be prodded.
Before concluding, I would like to quote what James Freeman Clarke said, "The difference between a politician and a statesman is: a politician thinks of the next election and a statesman thinks of the next generation." Our Prime Minister is a statesman who is thinking of the next generation. Thank you. (Ends)
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MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: The House is adjourned to meet tomorrow at 11.00 a.m.
The House then adjourned at five of the clock
till eleven of the clock on Wednesday the 7th March, 2007.