Pakistan should desist from acts contributing to trust deficit: Pranab Mukherjee

Pranab Mukherjee

Against the backdrop of the beheading of an Indian soldier on the LoC, President Pranab Mukherjee today said Pakistan should desist from acts that contribute to "trust deficit".

In his address to the joint sitting of Parliament, he said, "With Pakistan, we have made progress towards normalisation of relations, strengthening mechanism for bilateral trade and facilitating greater people-to-people contact".

The President said while India remains committed to taking the process forward, "it is also important that Pakistan abides by its commitments and desists from acts that contribute to a trust deficit".

Pakistan Army regulars had infiltrated inside Indian territory in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir and killed and mutilated the bodies of Lance Naiks Sudhakar Singh and Hemraj on January eight.

The President prefaced his remarks by saying that India continues to seek peace, stability, cooperation and economic development in the sub-continent. "We attach the highest priority to relations with our immediate neighbours".

He also made it clear that as Afghanistan prepares for a political and security transition in 2014 and beyond, "we will continue to help Afghanistan evolve peacefully and fight terrorism and extremism".

On China, the President said his government intends to work with the new Chinese leadership to reinforce the positive] direction of the bilateral relationship. "My government's foreign policy continues to be driven by the objectives of creating an enabling environment for our national development, ensuring the security of the nation and fulfilling our international responsibilities", he said.

As regards to Sri Lanka, he said, "We are making efforts in our engagement with Sri Lanka, including in our efforts to resettle and rehabilitate the internally displaced persons there and to ensure a life of peace, dignity and equality for the Tamil people".

As regards Bangladesh, the President said government proposes to introduce a Constitutional Amendment Bill in Parliament to give effect to provisions of the Land Boundary Agreement with the neighbouring country and its 2011 Protocol,which will strengthen border management and the country's security.

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