HYDERABAD: Former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao was a rare scholar and statesman who gave a new sense of direction to the countrys economic and foreign policies, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday, paying glowing tributes to the late Prime Minister on his 100th birth anniversary.
Singh, who virtually addressed the concluding programme of Raos birth centenary celebrations organised by Congress in Telangana, said one of the significant aspects of the economic reforms initiated by the Narasimha Rao regime was that they took into account the unique nature of the realities of the Indian situation.
P V Narasimha Rao strongly felt that the reforms would have to be mindful of Indian concerns and would have to protect the interests of our poor and our working people, he said.
Narasimha Rao brought realism to the fore in the countrys foreign policy and tried to improve Indias relations with its neighbours, he said.
Rao had launched what has come to be known as the countrys Look East policy linking India to many East and Southeast Asian countries, he said.
Under his leadership, the ballistic missile technology programme was launched, besidessuccessfully testing the augmented satellite launch vehicle, he said.
Rao was truly a sanyasi in politics, he said.
Singh praised K Srinath Reddy, eminent cardiologist and president of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), who received the lifetime achievement award presented by the organising committee.
Srinath Reddy had served as the personal physician of Rao when he was Prime Minister.
Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, who also virtually addressed the event, said it was during the Congress government headed by Rao that the threat of terrorism was brought under control (in the 1990s).
Both Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir returned to normalcy in the 1990s and had regular elections since then in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
Former President APJ Abdul Kalam gave credit for conducting nuclear tests to the Narasimha Rao government, he said.
Kharge also talked about the various other landmark achievements of Narasimha Rao as Prime Minister.
Srinath Reddy, who spoke on COVID-19, stressed the importance of hastening vaccination, strengthening public health systems at various levels, among others, to effectively face the challenge of the pandemic.
Narasimha Raos brother P V Manohar Rao, AICC in-charge of Congress affairs in Telangana and MP Manickam Tagore, outgoing Telangana Congress president and MP N Uttam Kumar Reddy, former minister J Geeta Reddy, who headed the organising committee of Raos centenary celebrations during the last one year, also spoke on the occasion.