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Manmohan praises Vajpayee, ticks off BJP

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Last Updated: July 29, 2009, 21:18 IST

Manmohan praises Vajpayee, ticks off BJP

Vajpayee showed courage in dealing with Pak: PM.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday praised his predecessor Atal Bihari's Vajpayee, saying "he took a decision of political courage to visit Lahore in 1999".

In the course of his reply in the Lok Sabha to the debate on India-Pakistan ties, Singh invoked Vajpayee's name to make the point that it required statesmanship to make bold decisions that often changed the course of history.

Tracing the course of chequered India-Pakistan ties in the last decade, Singh said that despite the 1999 Kargil war and the attack on the Indian parliament in 2001, Vajpayee remained committed to improved bilateral relations.

"To his great credit, Vajpayee was not deterred, as a statesman should not be. In 2004, he went to Islamabad, where a Joint Statement was issued that set out a vision for a cooperative relationship.

"I must remind the house that Opposition parties supported these bold steps," Manmohan Singh said in a clear allusion to the scathing criticism by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for his initiative to repair ties with Pakistan that has drawn adverse comments from the opposition and the media.

"I, for one, share Vajpayee's vision, and I have also felt his frustration in dealing with Pakistan," the prime minister added as the BJP members in the house listened to him in silence.

first published:July 29, 2009, 21:18 IST
last updated:July 29, 2009, 21:18 IST