President Pranab Mukherjee has advocated the need for dialogue between India and Pakistan but cautioned that peace cannot be discussed under a shower of bullets.
“Terrorists seek to undermine order by rejecting the very basis of strategic stability, which are recognised borders. If outlaws are able to unravel borders, then we are heading towards an age of chaos,” he said in address to the nation on eve of India’s Republic Day falling on Tuesday, Hindsutan Times reported.
“There will be disputes among nations; and, as is well-known, the closer we are to a neighbour the higher the propensity for disputes. There is a civilized way to bridge disagreement; dialogue, ideally, should be a continual engagement. But we cannot discuss peace under a shower of bullets.”
President Mukherjee’s remarks on the India-Pakistan dialogue were significant as New Delhi and Islamabad were trying to salvage the peace process in the wake of the Pathankot attack.
Foreign secretaries of the two countries were scheduled to meet in Islamabad on January 15 but it had to be resheduled because of the attack. The two countries were yet to confirm the next date for the meeting.
President Mukherjee said India should guard itself against forces of violence, intolerance and unreason.
In remarks that came against the backdrop of a growing debate on intolerance in the country, he said reverence for the past was one of the essential ingredients of nationalism.
“Our finest inheritance, the institutions of democracy, ensure to all citizens justice, equality, and gender and economic equity. When grim instances of violence hit at these established values which are at the core of our nationhood, it is time to take note. We must guard ourselves against the forces of violence, intolerance and unreason,” he said.
Ahead of the Budget session in Parliament, the President said that it is the “bounden duty” of lawmakers that legislations are enacted after due discussions and debate.
“A spirit of accommodation, cooperation and consensus-building should be the preferred mode of decision-making.”