Red Fort, New Delhi. Aug 15. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh now has declared that AIDS had to be fought on 'war footing' as it was becoming a "major national problem".
Singh made this announcement from the Red Fort on India's 59th independence day. He took encouragement from the fact that the country had been able to control and wipe out many diseases since independence in 1947.
"Leprosy has been eliminated in 25 states. Polio and TB are also being gradually brought under control.' He Added: "AIDS is now becoming a major national problem and we need to tackle this on a war-footing. We need to have a mass movement to ensure that this disease is rapidly checked and its growth arrested."
India with its vast population has an estimated 5.1 million AIDS patients, the second largest in the world after South Africa.
The prime minister said that the government would ensure that medicines to battle AIDS were available to common people at reasonable prices.