UPA strengthened border management: Pranab
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UPA strengthened border management: Pranab

The United Progressive Alliance Govt has strengthened the country's border management systems, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in the Lok Sabha.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2009 22:14 IST

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has strengthened the country's border management systems, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Mukherjee, officiating in the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is recuperating from coronary bypass surgery, was replying to the motion of thanks on the president's address.

Criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for questioning the efficacy of the recently enacted national security laws, the minister said he could not agree with the view of the opposition members.

Referring to the steps initiated by the government in the aftermath of Mumbai terror attack, Mukherjee said: "I cannot agree with their (opposition's) view. Keeping in view national security, we have strengthened our border management."

Without mentioning any neighbouring nation, the minister said India could not initiate the same steps taken by some other countries to counter terrorism as "human rights are sacrosanct."

Noting that it was very difficult to have an effective counter against suicide bombers, Mukherjee said: "Still, we have to take adequate steps to counter suicide attacks."

He also complimented Home Minister P. Chidambaram for the administrative steps he has taken on the national security front.

The UPA government, Mukherjee said, has also carried forward the work on the Golden Quadrialateral (GQ), the largest express highway in the country, launched by the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

"We have completed 95 percent work of the Golden Quadrialateral," Mukherjee pointed out, adding less than 140 kilometres of roads remained to be completed.

He said the work on the north-south and east-west (NSEW) corridors was in progress. Most of the work on the corridors was done by the UPA government, Mukherjee added.

Mukherjee also said India needed foreign direct investment (FDI) to grow.

"Yes we need FDI. We require investment. If you want nine percent growth by 2020, keeping the size of the GDP and population, we need FDI," the minister maintained.

He also rejected the allegation of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Mohammed Salim that the government's decision to allow "backdoor" FDI would dilute Indian ownership of companies.

"There is no question of diluting. Not only the ownership, we emphasise the ownership and control," Mukherjee added.

Later, the house adopted the motion of thanks by voice vote, rejecting by voice vote an amendment by BJP member Santhosh Gangwar and also defeating the amendments brought by CPI-M leaders Basudev Achariya and Roopchand Pal through division.

First Published: Feb 18, 2009 19:21 IST