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Government trying to improve ties with all countries: Patil

Saturday 25 March 2006

SHILLONG: Denying suggestions that India was "soft" in dealing with Bangladesh, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said on Friday that the Government was trying to improve relations with all countries.

"We are neither soft nor hard towards anybody. We are correct towards every country and trying to create an atmosphere of give and take which will help," he told reporters at the Assam Rifles headquarters here.

Asked about the Government going slow on the peace talks with two militant outfits of Meghalaya - Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council and Achik National Volunteers Council - he said he did not want to go into the details of these.

"But our intention is to talk to anybody who abjures violence," Mr. Patil said.

He praised the efforts of the Assam Rifles in guarding the border and its role in counter-insurgency operations and said that development in any part of the country would come only if there was peace, tranquillity and cooperation.

"If there is a fear psychosis, if people are afraid, then the pace of development is retarded," Mr. Patil said.

It was a common endeavour of both the Government and security forces to bring a climate of understanding, peace and tranquillity with the cooperation of the people.

Mr. Patil refused to answer any question on the "office of profit" issue and the proposed ordinance on it.

"I will not reply to any political question which I can do on the floor of Parliament where I get much time and not here in this kind of interview lasting for 10-15 minutes," Mr. Patil said when asked about the fate of the ordinance.

The Minister, who spoke to the waiting mediapersons briefly after addressing the commanders of Assam Rifles, talked on development in the North-Eastern region where, he said, the Government intended to create a "paradise."

"We want to create a paradise in the North-East where people will come instead of going to Jammu and Kashmir. The region needs some infrastructure," he said. - PTI

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