The Indian Prime Minister has warned that terrorism could undermine a peace
process between India and Pakistan. He also called for peace in Indian Kashmir,
which has been wracked by massive anti-India protests in recent days. As Anjana
Pasricha reports from New Delhi, the remarks came during an address to the
nation on the occasion of India's 61st Independence Day.
from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort in New Delhi on Friday, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, said that a suicide bombing at the Indian Embassy in
Kabul has cast a shadow over efforts to normalize ties with
India and Afghanistan have blamed Pakistan's spy agency, for
involvement in the July 7 bombing - Islamabad denies the charges.
Indian prime minister urged Pakistan to clamp down on terrorism.
Singh says support for terrorism will negate the good intentions that "we have
for our two people to live in peace and harmony", and make it difficult to
India has long accused Pakistan of
supporting groups that carry out terror attacks in the country and encouraging
Muslim separatists in Indian Kashmir - but in the last four years a tentative
peace process resulted in friendlier ties between the South Asian rivals.
The prime minister also called terrorism, fundamentalism and
communalism the biggest challenges to Indian unity.
The government is
worried over the situation in Indian Kashmir, which has been wracked by massive
protests in recent days. The protests stem from a dispute over a plot of land in
the Kashmir valley on which Hindus want to build shelters for pilgrims. The
government first allotted the land, then cancelled it following objections by
Since then, violence has engulfed both the Muslim dominated
Kashmir Valley and the Hindu dominated Jammu region. The situation is worse in
Kashmir, which has witnessed massive demonstrations.
So far the
government's attempts to solve the impasse between the two communities have met
with no success.
Mr. Singh appealed for calm in Kashmir and called on
all political parties to help find a solution.
Mr. Singh says in this
hour of crisis divisive politics will not lead the country anywhere. He asked
all political parties to find a solution keeping in view the long-term interests
of Jammu and Kashmir.
But those words were not heeded in Kashmir valley,
where streets were deserted as separatist groups called for a boycott of
Independence Day celebrations.
There was tight security both in
Kashmir and the rest of the country for the celebrations. Tens of thousands of
police fanned out in the capital, Delhi and other major cities to prevent
attacks by terror groups and Maoist rebels.