Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached out to the agitating youth of the Kashmir Valley and to the Naxalites in his Independence Day address on Sunday morning, emphasising once again his government's keenness for a dialogue with them.
In a 35-minute speech delivered from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Singh said: "Discussion and dialogue are the only options to resolve complex issues. As far as the central government is concerned, we are ready to take forward every process of talks which can lead to progress in resolution of problems."
Singh also made a similar appeal to all sections of the troubled Northeast, where in recent months, the blockade of Manipur by Naga groups caused enormous disruption.
"I would like to convey to all political parties and groups of the Northeast that disputes in the name of state and tribe can only harm all of us," the PM said.
Singh expressed regret at the loss of over 50 lives in two months of violence in the Kashmir Valley, most of them due to police firing on angry mobs.
"The years of violence should end. Such violence will not benefit anyone…We are ready to talk to every person or group which abjures violence," he said.
But he underscored Kashmir was an integral part of India.
"Within this framework, we are ready to move forward in any talks which would increase the partnership of the common man in governance and also enhance his welfare," he said.
Singh added the Indian democracy had 'the generosity and flexibility' to address the concerns of every group.
Moving on to Pakistan, he said he expected the government "not to let their territory to be used for acts of terrorism against India."
Describing Naxalism as a "serious challenge" to internal security, he said, "I once again appeal to the Naxalites to abjure violence, come for talks with the government and join hands to accelerate social and economic development."
Alluding to the differences among political leaders, including some in his own party, on how to tackle the Naxals, the PM said, "We all need to rise above our personal and political interests to meet this challenge. We will fully implement the consensus that emerged in the meeting with chief ministers. It is imperative that the Centre and the state work together to meet the challenge."
On development in the Naxal areas, he said: "I have asked the planning commission to formulate a comprehensive scheme towards this end, which we would implement fully. It is our endeavour that our Adivasi brothers and sisters join the mainstream of development."