PM meets Brown, Sarkozy focus on counter-terrorism, sympathy for Mumbai terror victims

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Port of Spain, Nov.28 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's bilateral interactions with French President Nicholas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown held here on Friday on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) primarily focussed on counter-terrorism, sympathy for the victims of last year's 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, the first anniversary of which was observed two days ago, and the next steps to be taken for arresting the threat of climate change.

While the working lunch meeting with President Sarkozy lasted for about an hour, the interaction with Prime Minister Brown lasted for about 40-minutes, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash revealed to the media on Friday.

"The discussion with President Sarkozy, they also had a fruitful exchange of views on the outgoing cooperation in this area of counter-terrorism. President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Singh expressed satisfaction on the cooperation in the civil nuclear cooperation sector," Prakash said.

"Prime Minister Gordon Brown also expressed sympathy at the first anniversary of the Mumbai terror attack. Both leaders noted that the perpetrators of Mumbai attack must be brought to justice," he revealed further.

Both agreed that there should be no double standards in dealing with the threat of terrorism.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Singh had told Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) president Richard Haas in Washington that terrorism in Pakistan, which was confined till now to the tribal badlands of that country, was dangerously moving into mainland Pakistan, and India was very concerned about this development.

"Terrorist groups who were once active in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) that border Afghanistan, are now active and have acquired a grip in mainland Pakistan," said Dr. Singh during a question and answer session with Haas.

"That is a cause for concern and steps should be taken to bring them under control. Failing to do so, will have phenomenal consequences for the security and stability of both India and Pakistan," he added.

He also said that Pakistan was not doing enough to curb terrorism or to bring the perpetrators of the terrorist attack on Mumbai last year to justice.

Asked by Haas whether he was justified in taking the steps that he and his government did to calm tempers and reactions in the wake of the incident, Dr. Singh said: "There was enormous pressure on me at that time and in hindsight, I must say that I resisted that pressure successfully. The decisions that were taken, on balance, suggest that they were the right decisions."

While refusing to speculate about how India would react or deal with such incidents in the future, the Prime Minister said: "I won't speculate about we (India) will or will not do in the future, but I must say that the world community has an obligation to exert pressure on Pakistan to control the terrorists and end terrorism on its soil."

Asked whether he subscribed to view that the Mumbai terror attack was planned in Pakistan, he said he and his government had no doubt on this score.

"The terrorists and attackers perpetrated the crime with the active support of the authorities in Pakistan.

Without mincing words, he said: " Pakistan has not acted as it should have acted against the terrorists. Nor has it used its machinery to bring to book the perpetrators responsible for killing 2000 people, innocent people, including some foreigners, in India."

He reiterated that Pakistan must be pressurised much more to bring to book all the perpetrators, people responsible for this horrible crime, adding that India has submitted "impeccable evidence" about the conspiracy being hatched in Pakistan and that it was connived by people still roaming freely in Pakistan.

The spokesman said that Prime Ministers' Brown and Singh shared a convergence of views on situation in Afghanistan and agreed that it was necessary for international community to stay the course in stabilizing Afghanistan through more vigorous efforts.

There was also an exchange of views on the need for more cooperation in the field of higher education, especially faculty development.

The Prime Minister invited President Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni to India, the spokesman said. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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