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L K Adwani
DivyaRani | 20 Jul 2009

BJP leader LK Advani said Indian neighbourhood would become ‘problem-free’ for the country only if countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh discard their “anti-India and anti-Hindu” mindset and political parties like the Congress banished vote bank considerations to recognise security threats coming from elements in those countries. He was speaking in Pune at a function to release the Marathi version of his book — My Country, My Life.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion, Advani said, “Our concerns are not only over Pakistan but also Bangladesh. The hopes of a peaceful and problem-free neighbourhood in the east have been largely belied. The massive and unchecked infiltration from Bangladesh is a threat to India’s unity, integrity and security. It is unfortunate that vote bank considerations have prevented the Congress and many other parties in India from seeing this looming threat.”

Advani added, “The biggest stumbling block is the anti-India and anti-Hindu attitude in a section of the society and polity in Pakistan and Bangladesh. This anti-India and anti-Hindu attitude manifests itself in many spheres. So long as Pakistan and Bangladesh define themselves in anti-India terms, there can be no real solution and no lasting peace.

He said the most “barbaric manifestation of the anti-India attitude” was cross-border terrorism, fuelled by religious extremism. He alleged that Pakistan had aided, abetted and exported terrorism into India, even though it had itself to pay a heavy price on that score. Its “hostility” towards India made it “play with fire”. The veteran leader however made it clear that there could be no compromise with terrorism.

“My party has been the most spirited advocate of this policy of zero-tolerance towards terrorism. We have not taken this stand to gain any narrow political advantage. The 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai last year has demonstrated its gravity yet again. But let us not be lulled into thinking that it was the last such attack,” he warned.

Advani said he was distressed by the Government’s ‘diplomatic surrender’ in de-linking composite dialogue with Pakistan over terrorism. He said the “national consensus to fight terrorism has been undermined by the UPA Government itself. As I speak here today, there is intense disquiet and concern among all thinking Indians, including a section of the Congress itself, over the latest India-Pakistan Joint Statement issued on 16 July 2009 following talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, who met in Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt on the sidelines of the NAM summit. It marks a major diplomatic surrender on India’s part,” he claimed.