Manmohan says India-EU summit exceeded expectations

Manmohan says India-EU summit exceeded expectations

Wednesday, 10 November 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Wednesday that the outcome of the India-EU Summit in The Hague had exceeded his expectations and that the country enjoyed tremendous goodwill overseas.

"I am satisfied with the outcome of the summit. It has far exceeded (my expectations compared to) earlier (India-European Union) meetings in Lisbon and other venues," he told reporters on his return here Wednesday.

"This summit has shown that all the nations have a lot of respect and admiration for India," said Manmohan Singh.

"Now it is up to us to take necessary decisions which will get our country moving again," he said after his three-day trip during which he attended the fifth India-EU summit.

On his arrival, the prime minister refused to be drawn into the criticism by Left parties and the opposition over the government's decision to raise prices of some petroleum products.

"I have nothing more to add. I will explain my position to my colleagues too."

He also declined to comment on the issue of expanding his cabinet. A cabinet expansion has been widely expected since the conclusion of last month's Maharashtra elections.

On board Air-India One earlier, Manmohan Singh defended the decision of the Andhra government to hold talks with the Maoist guerrillas, saying he saw no reason why the rebels couldn't rejoin the mainstream.

"I don't rule it out, that is very much a possibility," the prime minister said.

Many people have voiced fears that the Maoists might be arming and strengthening themselves, taking advantage of the peace talks with the state government.

"But that does not mean we don't try to bring them to the democratic mainstream," he said.

When the other communist parties were part of the political mainstream, there was no reason why efforts should not be made to bring the Maoists also into it, he added.

If the government could hold talks with the Maoists, why were the same yardsticks not used to hold negotiations with separatist militants in Jammu and Kashmir, he was asked.

"We are ready to talk with anyone. Our only condition is that they should give up arms."

Source: IANS
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