Bring perpetrators of Mumbai terror attack to book: Obama

Mumbai, Nov.6 (ANI): Emphasizing that the United States stands in solidarity with the 26/11 victims and with India to eradicate the scourge of terrorism in different parts of the world, visiting U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday gave a call to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack to book.

Obama, who arrived here in India on a four-day State visit, made a brief speech after visiting the Tree of Life memorial at the Taj hotel, one of the main venues targeted by terrorists on November 26, 2008.

In his address to the gathering at the memorial site, he said: The decision to stay in Taj is to send out a message to terrorists. It is an extraordinary honour to be here."

Avoiding a direct reference to Pakistan in his speech, Obama said, "The perpetrators of attacks (Mumbai terror attacks) hoped to divide India on the basis of religion. The 26/11 perpetrators must be brought to book."

"The United States stands in solidarity with 26/11 victims and it cannot forget the horrifying images of 26/11," he added.

Stating that the U.S. "stands with India to eradicate scourge of terrorism", Obama said: "I look forward to deepening of counter-terrorism relations (with India)."

Mentioning the right of people to live in a free world away from threat of terror, President Obama said: "We won't allow the torch of freedom to blow out."

Obama concluded on an emotional note by quoting India's first prime minister Jawharlal Lal Nehru's words on the death of Mahatma Gandhi: "We will never allow the torch of freedom to be blown out however high the wind or stormy the tempest."

Obama also met the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks at the Taj.

The US President Barack Obama has arrived here today on the first leg of his visit to India that will seek to focus on opening up of Indian markets for American businesses and deal with wide range of political issues, including strategy on counter-terrorism.

The Air Force One carrying Obama and his wife Michelle touched down at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here at 12:50 p.m.

Obama and his wife walked down the ladder to a red carpet welcome and were received by Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan who presented him a memento.

The other dignitaries who received him on the tarmac were Union Minister for Minority Affairs Salman Khursheed, who will be the minister-in-waiting, Indian Ambassador in the US Meera Shankar and the US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer. (ANI)

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