"Man leading India should be a man of steel and not still', says Rajnath Singh

Last Updated: Sat, Jun 29, 2013 11:50 hrs

Launching an attack on Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and strongly advocating for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh on Saturday said the person leading the country should be a man of steel and not still.

Singh expressed serious apprehensions over US plans to withdraw the NATO forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

"If the NATO forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, then the Taliban will not only restrict their activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan but the incidents of terror strikes will increase in India too," said Singh.

"The leadership of India should be vested in strong hands. The man leading the country should be a man of steel and not still," he added.

Asserting that incidents of terror strikes are on the rise, Rajnath Singh further said the government has failed to put pressure on Pakistan.

" The government has failed to formulate an integrated and comprehensive action plan to tackle the terror activities due to which incidents of terror strikes are rapidly increasing. The Pakistan sponsored incidents terrorism are continuing. We have failed in putting pressure on Pakistan," said Singh.

"There is some deficit in our diplomatic skills. The Government of India has failed to build international pressure on Pakistan," he added

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid earlier on Friday expressed confidence for a renewed process of parleys with neighbouring Pakistan under the new regime of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Khurshid stated that the new regime under Sharif in Pakistan has been sending positive signals for renewed peace talks, which can spur a new wave of diplomatic ties between the two neighbouring nations.

"Under the democratic process, there has been a new government there. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made promises during his election campaign and after winning the polls, he reiterated his statements. I feel that we have viewed this in a positive light and have responded to it, and also congratulated him on it," Khurshid said.

"But first he needs to make his position secure and start his work there. After that, the talks can proceed. But there are certain issues, which our people and the government feel must be addressed and we feel that we would be satisfied in this regard. This can give a fillip to the talks," he added.

Khurshid also commented on the Afghan peace process initiated between the US and the Taliban. He stated that no such steps would be taken by the US that may harm the interests of India in the region.

"Right now, the US has not told if they are confident whether the talks would go ahead. It is their effort. When Kerry was here, he told us clearly that no such steps would be taken that might harm our interests. This has been clearly assured by Kerry. There are red lines which we also agree to, and now the participating party should adhere to the laws under the red lines, put down their weapons and also severe all links with the Al Qaeda," added Khurshid.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Dobbins, earlier on Thursday said that there is no prospect of any agreement with Taliban unless they distance themselves from international terrorism.

"We certainly agree that there is no prospect for improving relations with the Taliban or, any agreement with the Taliban, unless the issue of terrorism is directly addressed," Dobbins said.

"We set as a pre-condition for beginning talks with the Taliban that they make a statement that at least (they) began to distance themselves from international terrorism. And they did so, they made a statement," he added.

Dobbins, who met Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai on his arrival in New Delhi and discussed the peace talks process with the Taliban, said that Indian officials were anxious about the peace talks.

"Nobody knows how this is going to progress and it will result in a diminishing of violence and a successful evolution towards peace. But I didn't get a sense that they thought it wasn't worth trying. I don't really want to speak for the Indians right now," said Dobbins.

"From our standpoint, we are going into this process with open eyes and without naive or excessive expectations of rapid progress or even a certainty that there will be any progress at all," he added.

Dobbins maintained that India has an important stake in Afghanistan.

"I have come to Delhi and hope to be able to come back regularly because India has an important stake in Afghanistan and has important influence in Afghanistan. And it's important that we understand Indian views and obviously that India understands our views and then we collaborate as closely as possible, which I certainly did 10 years go, 11 years ago," he said.

Dobbins also said that improvement in relations between India and Pakistan will automatically improve the situation in Afghanistan.

"I think any improvement in India-Pakistan ties will automatically improve Afghanistan situation. I have met twice now in little more than two weeks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. And my sense is that improvement in relations with India is very high on his list of priorities," he told the media. (ANI)

More from Sify: