New Delhi: Amid growing tension between India and Pakistan, former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday voiced hoped that saner counsels shall prevail between the leadership of India and Pakistan and the two countries will get back to the task of economic development.
He said this at a function at Teen Murti Bhavan where he was presented with the first 'P V Narasimha Rao National leadership and lifetime achievement award' by former president Pranab Mukherjee.
"I do hope that saner counsels will prevail between leadership of the two countries and we will get back to the economic development, which is the basic requirement of India and Pakistan," Singh said in his address.
Thanking the organisers - an NGO 'India Next' that instituted the award in memory of former prime minister Narasimha Rao, Singh said he will cherish the award and it will continue to inspire him for years.
"I thank you for this honour. It is a great day for me, on a day when our country is grappling with another crisis of the mad rush of mutual self destruction that plagues the the two countries of India and Pakistan.
"Our basic problem is to get rid of growing poverty, immunisation and disease, which still afflicts millions and millions of citizens of the two countries," he said, and hoped that the events and the narrative will change soon.
Mukherjee lauded Singh's role as finance minister under Rao and said both Rao and Singh will be remembered for the liberalisation of the Indian economy during the early 1990s.
Both Singh and Mukherjee expressed the hope that history will judge Rao in a much better manner than it has done so far.
"As PM, Rao and his FM Manmohan Singh formed a team which laid the foundations of a liberalised economy," he said, adding that economic liberalisation broke the fretters of growth that touched new heights under the liberalised economy.
Singh earlier lauded Mukherjee, whom he described as a good friend, and hoped that "yours will be a voice of sanity which will prevail".
He also said that governments have come and gone but the broad contours of the economy have been the same. He also expressed the hope that history will record his contribution in a better way.