Saturday, Dec 14, 2002
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By Sushma Ramachandran
"I can tell you that the message is working. We'll make sure it works.''
Addressing corporate leaders at FICCI's platinum jubilee celebrations, he said the country was forced to deploy its troops on the borders to send a "strong message'' to "our western neighbour.''
The message was, and continued to be, clear and simple. "That we are determined to end cross-border terrorism and to protect the unity and integrity of India, whatever it takes.''
Mr. Vajpayee's comments assume significance in the light of the assertions by the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, on Thursday that New Delhi had spent huge sums on military posturing against Islamabad with little to show for it.
The Prime Minister used the occasion to appeal to both captains of industry and the media to only talk about the "good things'' in the economy rather than have "negative news and negative comments'' hog the headlines. It only helped spread cynicism and pessimism, "malignant viruses that weaken our national energy... It doesn't help anybody.''
There was "complete political stability'' in the country and the National Democratic Alliance would be the first coalition at the Centre to complete its five-year term, which it would be doing in just three months' time. "We have demonstrated that coalition governments at the Centre can be stable, can work well, and can take the nation forward,'' Mr. Vajpayee said.
He described stability as the crucial, if intangible, precondition for the success of all government and non-government measures for economic and social development.
Taking credit for his Government's conduct of free and fair elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat, he said they were "not merely our achievements, but the achievements of the Indian democracy... They show the growing resilience of our democratic system. This augurs well for the long-term outlook for the Indian economy.''
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