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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Vajpayee's independence speech: excerpts
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
Mr Vajpayee speaks of a desire for peace
In his Independence Day speech, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee condemned "Pakistan-supported terrorism" in Kashmir and highlighted India's position in the wider world following its nuclear tests in May 1998. The following are excerpts from the speech, broadcast live on Indian Doordarshan TV:

You may recall that three years ago, after the nuclear tests, we had to go through a period of many difficulties.

Today, these difficulties are things of the past. For the country's security, we successfully faced these difficulties.

Today, our relations with many important countries of the world have become closer. We are holding a strategic dialogue with them on a regular basis. Our prestige among the comity of nations has increased...

Peace with Pakistan

The whole world knows that India has made all possible efforts to improve relations with Pakistan. These efforts, which were started by Jawaharlal Nehru, are continuing...

I travelled to Lahore for peace. In spite of signing the Lahore Declaration, Pakistan intruded into Kargil. Our soldiers pushed them back with their gallantry and bravery...


We invited Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf for a dialogue... I told my guest that if we have to wage a war, why don't we fight against poverty, unemployment, disease and backwardness?

In spite of Kargil and terrorism, we invited Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf for a dialogue.

I told my guest in Agra that we have been fighting for 50 years, and how many more years do we intend to fight? This confrontation has benefited neither India nor Pakistan.

Owing to enmity, both countries are spending their limited resources on fighting and preparing for war. What should have been done was to use our scarce resources for the development of the two countries and in improving people's living standards.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf at his Independence Day ceremony
Gen Musharraf flies the flag for Pakistan
I also told my guest that if we have to wage a war, why don't we fight against poverty, unemployment, disease, and backwardness...

Kashmir block

Unfortunately, President Musharraf... had come with only a one-point agenda: that India agree to Pakistan's conditions on Kashmir. I could not have accepted his views...

He continued to describe cross-border terrorism as jihad and a freedom struggle. There was no question of accepting this logic.


India wants to continue the dialogue process, but we will leave no stone unturned to crush Pakistan-supported terrorism

Terrorist activities have increased since the Agra summit...

What kind of jihad or freedom struggle is this and freedom for whom? The activities of Pakistan-supported Jihadi organizations are unholy and against Islam and humanism.

Nobody should remain deluded that Pakistan, which could not occupy Kashmir through wars, will gain it through jihad or terrorism.

As far as the question of talks with Pakistan is concerned, India wants to continue the dialogue process, but we will leave no stone unturned to crush Pakistan-supported terrorism...

Growing economy

Today the Indian economy is among the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world...


We can justifiably be proud of being Indians. Indians can move ahead with dignity in the entire world

India is among the front-ranking nations that have made strides in information technology, missile technology and various other sectors.

When I see our younger generation discharging great responsibilities, my confidence in our future is renewed. These are the people who are not only developing India today but are also building a great and prosperous India.

Now, we can justifiably be proud of being Indians. Indians can move ahead with dignity in the entire world...

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

15 Aug 01 | South Asia
India hits out at Pakistan
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