Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao wants International community to take firm steps to curb terrorism

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New Delhi, Oct 18 (ANI): Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said here on Sunday that there is an urgent need for the international community to take steps to tackle the terrorism in the South Asian region.

In an exclusive interview to the All India Radio, Nirupama Rao pointed out that the "unhindered way" in which terrorist groups have been allowed to operate in this region, calls for " very great urgent need for the international community to be one on tackling this threat."

"The attacks on our embassy in Kabul last week and the attack last July 2008 have also brought home, not only to us in this region, but also to the international community, the threat and danger that exists from terrorism," Rao added.

Reiterating India's commitment to the development and infrastructure building in war torn Afghanistan Rao said: "We are in Afghanistan to help the people of Afghanistan. Our development partnership with Afghanistan has won us hearts and minds in Afghanistan and there is no doubt about it"

She added that the Afghanistan administration and people are overwhelmingly appreciative of the work undertaken by India and asked Pakistan to understand India's genuine concern for the development of the region.

"It is essential that Pakistan realizes this and Pakistan understands that we are there (in Afghanistan) for legitimate reasons, we are there to help the people of Afghanistan," Rao said.ommenting about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's up coming visit to US, Rao said that there are new well springs of cooperation are appearing in the relationship of both the countries.

"We have a global partnership with the United States. As President Obama said recently to our Prime Minister "there are new well springs of cooperation in this relationship. When Ms. Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State was here in July, we announced this new dialogue architecture between the two countries and the pillars not only concern strategic issues or security issues, they also concern human development issues, issues like agriculture, energy, cooperation in energy, gender empowerment, the environment, the education issues, there are many pillars to this dialogue today, Rao said.

Rao also expressed confidence that the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington would enable India to take this dialogue forward and it will "strengthen and consolidate our partnership with the government and with the people of the United States".

Commenting on recent visit of 10-member Tamil Nadu MPs' delegation to Sri Lanka to study the rehabilitation operation of Tamil refugees in that country Rao said: "We have announced a package a Rs.500 crores of assistance to help the ethnic Tamils because then they can return to their homes and resume their livelihood."

She also added that the Indian Government is in constant touch with the Sri Lankan authorities. Whenever there are cases of our fishermen, unwittingly or inadvertently, straying into Sri Lankan waters and if they are apprehended by the Sri Lankan side, Indian officials take immediate steps to secure their release and take up their case with the Sri Lankan authorities. (ANI)

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