Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday identified terrorism, Naxalism and communalism as key challenges to the nation, emphasizing that the “ferocity of these disturbing and disruptive” elements have to be understood and ways devised to defeat them.
Singh emphasis on the three challenges — he named all them in the same breath — came in the backdrop of BJP’s Pilibhit candidate Varun Gandhi’s vitriolic speeches that the Prime Minister had earlier described as “very unfortunate”.
“…we must devise ways and means how we can equip our economy, polity to meet the challenges of terrorism, to meet the challenges of naxalism and simultaneously we must also recognise that communalism and religious hatred can be a very disruptive element,” he said, addressing Indian Administrative Service probationers, who had called on him.
“There are today forces which seek to destabilise our economy and polity,” he said, stressing that as public servants, they must be alive to the dangers of communalism, of casteism, of regionalism.
Singh’s remarks come days after Home Minister P Chidambaram had rejected the “divisive” BJP’s claim to do a better job at fighting terrorism. “BJP can’t fight terrorism as it sees through the prism of religion and can’t distinguish between right and wrong,” Chidambaram had said.
Singh also asked the young administrators to be mindful of the security environment in South Asia.
“South Asia is in turmoil… Therefore, in planning for our own development, we have to be mindful of the environment within which we have to operate,” he said.
“We are today faced with a neighbourhood which is far from peaceful. You all know about the recent developments in Pakistan, …in Nepal, …in Bangladesh, …in Sri Lanka. They all impinge on our development,” Singh told Indian Administrative Service probationers on Saturday.