J&K polls showed national will
26 October 2002
New Delhi: India demonstrated its resolve and national will by conducting free and fair polls in Jammu and Kashmir and maintaining peace and harmony in the wake of dastardly attack by terrorists in the Akshardham temple complex, Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani said here on Saturday. Faced with the spectre of terrorist violence, people of J&K came out to vote, Mr Advani said while speaking at the eighth Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa memorial lecture. Union Disinvestment Minister Arun Shourie delivered a lecture titled Forging a national will, on the occassion. Mr Advani, who was the guest of honour, said the elections could prove a turning point and India had demonstrated its resolve and national will by conducting free and fair polls in J&K and maintaining peace and harmony in the wake of dastardly attack by terrorists in the Akshardham temple complex. Complementing Russia for displaying the political will to handle the hostage crisis in Moscow on Saturday, the DPM said failure to take action can be disastorous. He said every action like this has risks attached to it but an action has to be taken. Mr Shourie , while delivering his lecture said India should not slacken its security policy as China would take advantage of India''s ''acupuncture points'' and continue it arms aid to Pakistan. He added that China''s clout was ever increasing and its future strategy in South and South-East Asia was aimed at pressing India at its vulnerable points. He termed this as ''murder with a borrowed knife: hence its arms aid to Pakistan, its advances in Myanmar.'' Explaining the ''acupuncture'' points, Mr Shourie said this included India''s vulnerability in the Northeast, vast tracts within the country as well as neighbouring countries getting beyond the writ of the States, the progressive Islamisation of Bangladesh and growing Islamic terrorism. Mr Shourie said China''s military clout was backed by its rapid economic reforms. Bankers and fund managers in New York, whose principles had invested billions of dollars in China, were working assiduously to promote China as an investment destination. To contend with such threats, the country needed to develop a political will to come up with sustainable 20-30 years economic and security related plans. Mr Shourie also warned that India could go the Soviet Union way if its economy was not managed well, particularly its finances. ''We may have atomic weapons but if we do not manage our Governmental finances well, or if we let our foreign exchange reserves slip and have to turn to the IMF, we will be squeezed into submission,'' he said. ''We will be vulnerable and not in spite of our atomic weapons but because of them. The way the Soviet Union collapsed yesterday, the way Russia and Pakistan can be pressurised today are ready warnings,'' he said. Holding that the system had become dysfunctional in carrying forward economic reforms, the Minister said the central weakness was general governance and unless it was remedied the economy would be overwhelmed. ''Our system is just not able to deliver. It has become dysfunctional,'' he said. ''Labour reforms, privatisation, reforms of the financial sector, reforms in the power sector - what have we not announced in the last decade? For which of them have we not, in the last decade, pledged ourselves to time-bound targets. Yet on everything, a 20-metre sprint and inertia overwhelms us,'' he said. Mr Shourie cautioned that vices that had come to infect general governance can also infect the armed forces and the defence sector could not remain an island forever.