In a wide-ranging policy speech to India's Parliament, Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh has expressed hopes of restarting peace talks with
Pakistan. The prime minister also called for a high-level dialog with
Australia, in response to recent racist attacks on Indian students
Following months of tension in wake of the Mumbai
terrorist attack, India's prime minister is expressing a willingness to
resume peace talks with Pakistan, which could cool tensions between the
India blames last November's
terrorist siege of its financial capital on the Pakistani-based
Lashkar-e-Taiba. The attack left dead nearly 170 people.
to Parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, with the fate of
1.5 billion people at stake, India is willing to meet "more
than half way" its neighbor and long-time military rival.
is in our vital interest, therefore, to try again to make peace with
Pakistan. But I recognize it takes two hands to clap," he said.
biggest barrier to peace is the divided Kashmir region, which both
nations have claimed since winning independence from Britain in 1947.
The territorial dispute has been the catalyst for repeated battles
between the armies of India and Pakistan during the past 62 years.
his Parliament speech, the prime minister made clear progress in
resuming the slow-paced peace talks would depend on Islamabad bringing
to justice terror suspects New Delhi blames for attacks on Indian soil.
Singh also made note of the recent attacks on Indian students in
Australia. The spate of physical assaults, which Indians say are
racially motivated, has caused a diplomatic row between New Delhi and
Mr. Singh told lawmakers he has been discussing the
issue with his Australian counterpart, Kevin Rudd, who he says has
assured him action will be taken to protect the nearly 100,000 Indians
"I propose to engage the authorities in
Australia in a high-level dialog with a view to taking stock of the
situation and to providing adequate security for Indian security," he
Remarking on relations with India's major economic
rival, China, Mr. Singh deemed the Chinese a "strategic partner" and
says the multi-faceted bilateral relationship should not be viewed in
Responding to legislators' concerns
about repeated Chinese incursions into Indian territory, Mr. Singh said
no country should make no mistake in doubting India would act to
protect its boundaries.
Indian media report a surge of
incursions by China along the un-demarcated border since 2007. The
alleged incidents occurred in Ladakh (an ethnic Tibetan region in
Kashmir), the state of Arunachal Pradesh and in formerly independent
Sikkim. China maintains territorial claims in all three areas.