Delhi wants ‘respectful’ ties with Islamabad: Mukherjee


Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants a “mutually respectful relationship” with Pakistan, his government’s policy paper said the other day.

The policy paper was read out by President Pranab Mukherjee as his traditional address to a joint sitting of the parliament’s two houses, which kicks off the annual budget session.

The Modi government’s agreeable posture appeared to follow reported progress in Pakistan with the Pathankot attack probe. The statement also came ahead of a possible meeting bet­ween Prime Ministers Modi and Nawaz Sharif in Washington next month during a nuclear security summit.

The president said the government was committed to forging a “mutually respectful relationship” with Pakis­tan and in creating an environment of cooperation in combating cross-border terrorism. He called upon all MPs to discharge their responsibilities in a spirit of cooperation and mutual accommodation.

Asserting that the government was fully committed to firmly dealing with all challenges concerning India’s security, President Mukherjee said terrorism is a global threat and strong counter-terrorism measures are necessary worldwide to eradicate it.

“Let me congratulate the security forces in successfully foiling the recent attack at the Pathankot airbase by terrorists. Firm and effective steps will be taken to deal with any situation arising out of cross-border terrorism,” he said.

He said the government believed in a secure and prosperous future for the neighbourhood while committing itself to the principle of ‘the world is one family’.

The government on its part would strive for smooth and constructive conduct of parliamentary business.

The remarks assume significance in the context of repeated disruption of business on various issues, loss of time of parliament and the stalling of legislative business in Rajya Sabha, where the government lacks majority.

“Let noble thoughts come from all directions, should be the spirit behind the debate in this temple of democracy. Being a member of this great institution bestows great honour as well as important responsibilities,” Mukherjee said.