Manmohan Singh: Violence could hinder India-Pakistan peace efforts

From an address to the nation by the Prime Minister of India, on Independence Day
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The Independent Online

This day comes for us in the middle of the monsoons. Each year when we meet here and see the Tiranga being unfurled on the Red Fort, we also look at the clouds above and wonder whether it will rain.

This day comes for us in the middle of the monsoons. Each year when we meet here and see the Tiranga being unfurled on the Red Fort, we also look at the clouds above and wonder whether it will rain.

Drought and floods continue to bring suffering to our rural population. We are committed to increasing public investment in irrigation and addressing the specific problems of each river basin in an environment- and people- friendly manner. The concerns of most citizens revolve around agriculture, water, education, health and employment.

However, to be able to deliver results, we must reform government. The question of ethics in public life has repeatedly agitated our people. The time has come for us to consensually evolve a code of conduct for all political parties, a code of ethics for all individuals in public life, and a code of best practices for the government at all levels.

We must fight all anti-national and anti-social forces that try to disrupt normal life. Terrorism is a threat to our normal lives, and we must all unite in fighting it. We will fight terrorism forcefully. Let there be no doubt about it. However, we are willing to talk to any group provided they abjure the path of violence.

We have always been in favour of dialogue with Pakistan. It is our intention to carry it forward with firm resolve and sincerity. The edifice of peace must stand on the twin pillars of mutual trust and confidence. Of course, cross-border terrorism and bloodshed can make our task more difficult and complex.

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