Pak stand on Kashmir exposed: PM
3 January 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Bangalore: Accusing Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf of adopting a 'double standard' on the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today said it 'will not go on for long.' 'Islamabad’s stand on Kashmir and Gen Musharraf’s double standard had now stood exposed and the world leaders had realised it as well. Such a double standard will not go on for a long time,' Mr Vajpayee said before emplaning for Delhi after inaugurating the 90th Indian Science Congress here. Asked to comment on the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s remarks on him regarding Hindutva, Mr Vajpayee said VHP leaders had made several statements, which he was gathering, and wanted to study them before giving a reaction. On whether he thought the VHP was taking its demands too far, he remarked, 'I don’t think so.' Answering another question, the Prime Minister said the outcome of the Gujarat Assembly elections had served as a morale booster for the BJP ahead of Assembly elections in several states including Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. The party’s victory in Gujarat had lent a new mood to it. 'We would derive benefit out of it,' he added. Earlier, addressing his party MPs, legislators and senior leaders, Mr Vajpayee exhorted them to highlight various schemes initiated by the National Democratic Alliance Government to the people. He explained that the administration had initiated various measures to assuage the sufferings of the poor and wanted party workers to inform people more effectively. The economic situation in the country was strong and foodgrains were being distributed promptly despite the prevailing drought in various states. If the public distribution system worked well, the states would get mileage out of it, but when they failed, they blamed the Centre, he observed, Mr Vajpayee said the Centre had constructed over 70,000 houses under the housing sector for the poor and urged party workers to create awareness about it. Mr Vajpayee said the Government had to confront various hurdles when it decided to hold Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. People turned up in large numbers despite threats from neighbouring Pakistan and voted implying that it was their right to exercise franchise. A free and fair election was held in that State to establish a democratically elected Government, he noted adding that 'Pakistan got isolated and terrorism was given a reply.' He said that as BJP had emerged victorious in the recently-concluded Gujarat Assembly elections, there was no need for the party workers to be defensive. 'Go ahead and tell the people about the achievements of the party’s Government,' he urged. Earlier, unveiling a national science policy that pledges to de-bureaucratise science and technology institutions, Vajpayee said he was 'terribly disturbed' over the 'Government culture' and internal brain drain and appealed to the scientific diaspora to return to the country. Opening the 90th session of the Indian Science Congress here, Vajpayee assured 'pragmatic and flexible schemes' to enable expatriates to 'come and work in our science and technology institutions' to build a new and resurgent India. Voicing his concern over 'internal brain drain' and bureaucratisation in scientific institutions, Vajpayee said 'we have to ensure that our scientific institutions do not become afflicted with culture of our Government agencies.' 'We need to examine why a career in science is not considered worthwhile by so many of our talented younger scientists,' he said while expressing his anguish over diversion of talent from R and D careers to non-scientific fields in both Government and private sectors. In his address to over 3,000 scientists including 80 from abroad, Vajpayee promised steps to facilitate return of scientists and technologists of Indian origin back and simplification of administrative and financial procedures to permit efficient operation of research programmes. In this regard, the new science and technology policy 2003, coming after a gap of two decades, said Government would make necessary budgetary commitments for higher education and science and technology and raise the investment level to atleast two per cent of GDP through its own resources and contribution by industry. The policy promised to mount a direct effort on removal of poverty and regional imbalances besides taking steps for de-bureaucratising S and T institutions. In a concerted effort to 'infuse a new sense of dynamism' in S and T institutions, the 28-page policy said science departments, agencies and other academic institutions including universities would be substantially strengthened, given full autonomy and flexibility besides removing red tapism. It would also be ensured that all highly science based ministries and departments of Governments are run by scientists and technologists. Expressing delight over the launch of the new policy, Prime Minister said ' we can respond to the breath taking changes that have taken place in the world of science and technology.... And also to challenges and opportunities before us in the new century.' Vajpayee also asked the scientists to 'boldly make partnership with top corporations spending hundreds of millions of dollars in R and D to tap the huge new opportunities that have opened up in this field.' Stating that whatever be the reason for careers in science not considered worthwhile by several younger scientists, Vajpayee said this issue must be faced squarely by taking visible concrete steps to give promising scientists and technologists the necessary opportunities, recognition, standing and adequate material compensation.