Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday spoke about two burning issues facing the country today — the vortex of violence in Kashmir and Naxalism.
Addressing top military commanders, including the three service chiefs, at the annual Combined Commanders’ Conference here, Singh sought to reach out to the youth in the Valley.
The Prime Minister said the government was willing to talk to every person or group that abjured violence, within the framework of the Constitution.
Singh said, “Unrest in Jammu and Kashmir over the last few weeks is a matter of concern. The youth of Kashmir are our citizens and their grievances have to be addressed.”
Singh underlined the need to ensure better better delivery of services and generating avenues for economic advancement of the Kashmiri people.
But Singh made no mention of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in his speech.
On naxalism, Singh reiterating that it was a serious challenge to India’s internal security, said the government would deal firmly with those resorting to violence.
The Prime Minister said the government would accelerate development efforts in naxal-affected areas and make the administrative machinery more sensitive and responsive to local concerns.
The Army’s involvement has so far been limited to training para-military personnel for counter-insurgency operations.
The Army is setting up a counter-insurgency warfare school dedicated to training paramilitary forces near Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
The IAF has assigned four Russian Mi-17 helicopters for the logistics support of the state and central police forces engaged in anti-Naxal operations.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and national security adviser Shivshankar Menon were present at the event.