India voices concern over terror emanating from neighbourhood

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Minsk, Jun 4: President Pranab Mukherjee has voiced serious concern over terrorism and extremism emanating from India's neighbourhood, saying it remains a major security threat for India as well as other countries in the region.

"Terrorism and extremism emanating from our shared neighbourhood remains a major security threat for India and for Belarus too," he said in his address at the prestigious Belarus State University here last night.

President Pranab Mukherjee with his counterpart from Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko inspecting the guard of honour during his ceremonial reception at Palace of Independence in Minsk, Belarus on Wednesday.

He insisted that addressing this challenge requires greater cooperation among all nations and clarity of purpose. The President said India has and will always remain committed to peaceful methods in its foreign policy.

Earlier, on the first leg of his two-nation tour, Mukherjee had raised the issue of terrorism while speaking at the Uppsala University in Sweden, where he deviated from his written speech and said world is not free from trouble.

"What is happening in West Asia? What is happening in different parts of the world? Whatever be the divergence of views, on the issue of terrorism, I am sure that all will agree that terrorism has no respect for any religion," he had said, adding it believes in nothing but wanton destruction.

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"It is important for the international community to face this greatest menace, I would say, not to any country or territory but to entire civilisation. The very existence of human values, the respect for peaceful co-existence, tolerance, pluralism are being dangerously threatened by this," he had said in a strongly worded speech.

Mukherjee, who is in Belarus on the first-ever State Visit by an Indian President, was conferred upon the Professor Honoris Causa by the Belarus State University. He said India is strongly interested in further deepening its already substantive relationship with Belarus.

"I have had excellent discussions with President (Alexander) Lukashenko earlier today. With a view to further energise our co-operation, we have issued a very substantive and focused Roadmap on the India-Belarus partnership.

"We are hopeful that we can double our trade to a level of USD 1 billion by the year 2020. India's decision to grant 'Market Economy Status' to Belarus will also be a significant step to enhance our bilateral trade and to promote greater integration of Belarus in international trade structures," he said.

Maintaining that the two countries have similar approach towards international issues, he exuded confidence that India and Belarus can continue to further their respective regional and global agenda through mutual support and understanding.

PTI 

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