"Man leading India should be a man of steel and not still', says Rajnath Singh

Ghaziabad, June 29 (ANI): Launching an attack on Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and strongly advocating for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh on Saturday said the person leading the country should be a man of steel and not still.

Singh expressed serious apprehensions over US plans to withdraw the NATO forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

"If the NATO forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, then the Taliban will not only restrict their activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan but the incidents of terror strikes will increase in India too," said Singh.

"The leadership of India should be vested in strong hands. The man leading the country should be a man of steel and not still," he added.

Asserting that incidents of terror strikes are on the rise, Rajnath Singh further said the government has failed to put pressure on Pakistan.

" The government has failed to formulate an integrated and comprehensive action plan to tackle the terror activities due to which incidents of terror strikes are rapidly increasing. The Pakistan sponsored incidents terrorism are continuing. We have failed in putting pressure on Pakistan," said Singh.

"There is some deficit in our diplomatic skills. The Government of India has failed to build international pressure on Pakistan," he added

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid earlier on Friday expressed confidence for a renewed process of parleys with neighbouring Pakistan under the new regime of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Khurshid stated that the new regime under Sharif in Pakistan has been sending positive signals for renewed peace talks, which can spur a new wave of diplomatic ties between the two neighbouring nations.

"Under the democratic process, there has been a new government there. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made promises during his election campaign and after winning the polls, he reiterated his statements. I feel that we have viewed this in a positive light and have responded to it, and also congratulated him on it," Khurshid said.

"But first he needs to make his position secure and start his work there. After that, the talks can proceed. But there are certain issues, which our people and the government feel must be addressed and we feel that we would be satisfied in this regard. This can give a fillip to the talks," he added.

Khurshid also commented on the Afghan peace process initiated between the US and the Taliban. He stated that no such steps would be taken by the US that may harm the interests of India in the region.

"Right now, the US has not told if they are confident whether the talks would go ahead. It is their effort. When Kerry was here, he told us clearly that no such steps would be taken that might harm our interests. This has been clearly assured by Kerry. There are red lines which we also agree to, and now the participating party should adhere to the laws under the red lines, put down their weapons and also severe all links with the Al Qaeda," added Khurshid.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Dobbins, earlier on Thursday said that there is no prospect of any agreement with Taliban unless they distance themselves from international terrorism.

"We certainly agree that there is no prospect for improving relations with the Taliban or, any agreement with the Taliban, unless the issue of terrorism is directly addressed," Dobbins said.

"We set as a pre-condition for beginning talks with the Taliban that they make a statement that at least (they) began to distance themselves from international terrorism. And they did so, they made a statement," he added.

Dobbins, who met Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai on his arrival in New Delhi and discussed the peace talks process with the Taliban, said that Indian officials were anxious about the peace talks.

"Nobody knows how this is going to progress and it will result in a diminishing of violence and a successful evolution towards peace. But I didn't get a sense that they thought it wasn't worth trying. I don't really want to speak for the Indians right now," said Dobbins.

"From our standpoint, we are going into this process with open eyes and without naive or excessive expectations of rapid progress or even a certainty that there will be any progress at all," he added.

Dobbins maintained that India has an important stake in Afghanistan.

"I have come to Delhi and hope to be able to come back regularly because India has an important stake in Afghanistan and has important influence in Afghanistan. And it's important that we understand Indian views and obviously that India understands our views and then we collaborate as closely as possible, which I certainly did 10 years go, 11 years ago," he said.

Dobbins also said that improvement in relations between India and Pakistan will automatically improve the situation in Afghanistan.

"I think any improvement in India-Pakistan ties will automatically improve Afghanistan situation. I have met twice now in little more than two weeks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. And my sense is that improvement in relations with India is very high on his list of priorities," he told the media. (ANI)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »