New Delhi, Jan 3 IBNS | 2 years ago

Putting to rest all speculations about his resignation ahead of the 2014 polls, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said he will hand over the baton to a new PM after the Lok Sabha elections.

In his opening remarks at his first official press conference in nearly five years, here on Friday, Singh said: "In a few months time, after the general election, I will hand the baton over to a new Prime Minister."

"I hope it will be a UPA chosen Prime Minister and our party will work to that end in the campaign for the General Elections.

"I am confident that the new generation of our leaders will also guide this great nation successfully through the uncharted and uncertain waters of global change," said the PM.

Singh said the cycle of global economic growth is turning for the better.

"Many of the steps we have taken to address our domestic constraints are coming into play. India's own growth momentum will revive," he said.

"Over the past decade we have been through many ups and downs. During my first term in office, India witnessed for the first time in its recorded history a sudden acceleration of economic growth to 9.0 per cent.

"This exceptional performance was followed by a slowdown initiated by the global financial crisis. Over the past couple of years, all Emerging Economies have experienced a slowdown. India was no exception" said the PM.

Singh said economies have ups and downs and we should not focus overly on the short term.

"We should recognize that even if we include the years of slowdown, the rate of growth achieved in the past nine years, is the highest for any nine year period. And it is not just the acceleration of growth that gives me satisfaction," he said.

Singh said India will continue to invest in its defence and national security, in providing security to its own people and ensuring regional security and stability.

"At the same time, we will continue to seek better relations with our immediate neighbours knowing that the destiny of the Indian sub-continent is linked through a shared history and a shared geography," he said.

Singh further said: "It has also been my effort to build long term, stable and mutually beneficial relations with all major powers and all our Asian neighbours.

"We should continue to benefit from global opportunities and contribute to global efforts in creating and managing global institutions to deal with global challenges."

(Posted on 03-01-2014)