New Delhi, March 1: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed the current escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan as “mad rush of mutual self-destruction” and expressed hope that “saner counsel will prevail”.
“On a day when our country is grappling with another crisis of mad rush of mutual self-destruction that is (being) played between India and Pakistan, our basic problem is to get rid of chronic poverty, ignorance and disease which still afflicts millions and millions of citizens in our two countries,” said the 86-year-old Singh.
The Congress leader made the remarks during a function at Teen Murti Bhavan on Thursday where he was presented with the first ‘PV Narasimha Rao National leadership and lifetime achievement award’ by former president Pranab Mukherjee.
Before concluding his statement, Singh apparently took a jibe at the ruling governments of the two countries adding that the basic requirement of both the countries is economic development.
“I think the events will soon be corrected and saner counsel will prevail between the leadership of the two countries and we will get back to the economic development which is the basic requirement of both India and Pakistan,” he added.
Singh’s remarks came amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following the 14 February Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed by a terrorist from Pak-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
The former Prime Minister’s “saner counsel” remark came on the day when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the release of the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot who they captured on Wednesday.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was taken captive by the Pakistani Army after his fighter jet was shot down during an aerial engagement with Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16 which had violated the Indian airspace in a failed attempt to target Indian military installations.
The IAF pilot will be handed over to India at the Wagah border in Punjab’s Atari at an unspecified time on Friday. (Courtesy: TS)