By Dr. Manmohan Singh
Terrorism has emerged as a threat to peace and harmony in all parts of the world. After the horrific terror attacks in Mumbai in last November, our government has taken many steps against terrorism. To root out terrorist activities, our security forces and intelligence agencies are being constantly upgraded. I am sure that with cooperation from all sections of our society, we will be successful in eliminating terrorism from our country.
Some parts of our country continue to be affected by the Naxalite menace. It is the constitutional obligation of the government to protect the life and liberty of our citizens. Those who think that they can seize power by recourse to the gun do not understand the strength of our democracy. The Central Government will redouble its efforts to deal with Naxalite activities. We will extend all help to the State Governments to make their police forces more effective. Central forces will be provided wherever they are needed. We will also do more to ensure better coordination among States.
There have been two elections in Jammu & Kashmir since I addressed you on the last Independence Day. The first one was for the State Legislative Assembly and the second for the Lok Sabha. People of all areas of the State have participated vigorously in both the elections. This is a proof that there is no place for separatist thought in Jammu & Kashmir.
Our Government will continue assisting the State Government in improving governance in all parts of Jammu & Kashmir. It will be our endeavour to ensure that human rights are respected in the State and all its citizens are able to lead a life of peace and dignity in an environment of safety and security. We respect the special assurances and concessions provided to Jammu & Kashmir in our Constitution. We will continue to honour these special provisions.
Today's world is becoming smaller in many respects. Whether it is the international economic crisis or terrorism or climate change - what happens in one part of the world has an effect on other parts also. The international economic and political order is changing. Questions are being raised on the functioning and continued effectiveness of the multilateral institutions established in the 20th Century.
Our foreign policy should be able to cater to India's interests in these constantly changing circumstances. I am happy that we have been successful in doing this to a large extent.
We have good relations with the United States, Russia, China, Japan and Europe. There is a tremendous amount of goodwill for India and its people in the countries of South East Asia, Central Asia, West Asia and the Gulf. We have further strengthened our traditional ties with Africa. We are looking for new opportunities in Latin America.
As far our neighbours are concerned, we want to live with them in peace and harmony. We will make every possible effort to create an environment conducive to the social and economic development of the whole of South Asia.
Selective excepts from the text of the speech made by Prime Minister of India on the occasion of 63rd Independence day, on 15 August, 2009