India wants peace, but will firmly deal with threats: PM
New Delhi, Feb 12 : Signalling no thaw in relations with Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday said India wants peace with neighbours but incidents like the brutal killing of two soldiers on the LoC were simply unacceptable and the country would effectively deal with any threat.
Speaking at the governors' conference here, the prime minister dwelled on an array of issues and said that the past year had seen improvement in improvement in internal security situation including that in Jammu and Kashmir, the northeast and in the Maoist-affected areas.
He said India was committed to working for good relations and peaceful existence with its neighbours but "are also firm in our resolve to deal effectively with any threat to our country".
"Incidents like the one that took place on the LoC last month are against the norms of civilized international behaviour and are simply unacceptable to us," he said.
India had strongly protested the Jan 8 killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers near the Line of Control (LoC). Following the incident, India had said there cannot be business as usual with Pakistan.
Referring to the Dec 16 gang-rape that evoked nationwide outrage, the prime minister said real and effective change in the status of women can come only if there is a change in societal values. Urging collective work for the goal, he suggested induction of more women in police forces.
He said the government was alive to the need to curb corruption in public life and hoped the parliament will pass the Lokpal bill in the coming days. The government was considering amending the anti-corruption Act to enable faster punishment of guilty public servants and provide more effective protection to honest ones, he added.
The prime minister while there had been improvement in overall internal security situation, there is a lot which still needs to be done.
He said the suggestions of Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra for more coherent action on the part of security agencies were worth exploring.
Manmohan Singh said the government has endeavoured to bridge the development and governance deficit in the left wing extremist-affected areas and the Integrated Action Plan for 82 backward districts was beginning to show encouraging results.
The prime minister said that due to government's efforts, the geographical spread of the menace had shown a shrinking trend and the number of Maoist incidents showed a perceptible decline over the previous year.
"However, much more remains to be done and we will make all efforts to accomplish what we still have to do," he said.
The prime minister said that there was need to sensitize the police forces towards showing special care in dealing with crimes against the weaker sections and induction of more women in police forces.
"I urge the governors to guide their state governments in this direction," he said.