Saturday, September 15, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Vajpayee hints at harsh measures
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 14
Addressing the nation in the wake of the September 11 terrorist strikes on the USA, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today asked the countrymen to be ready for “harsh measures in the coming months” and gave ample indication that such measures would not be just economic.

The Prime Minister’s singling out of the huge oil import bills and concern about the spiralling prices in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the USA is being viewed here as a signal that an increase in oil prices is just round the corner.

In his 10-minute address on Doordarshan, Mr Vajpayee also indicated that the US reprisal attacks could take place in India’s vicinity and stressed that governments should be held “wholly accountable” for terrorism that originate from their countries.

Mr Vajpayee made specific reference to the country’s oil import bill which is a staggering Rs 90,000 crore per annum. He said an increase in the price of a barrel of oil by just a dollar increases the country’s import bill by Rs 3,600 crore.

“We have to do more than just bear economic costs. We have to review our hobbled laws, our dilatory procedures. That even the first stage of the trial of those who carried out the serial blasts in Mumbai, has not been completed is an open invitation to terrorists to continue with impunity.

Mr Vajpayee said on the one hand there is liable to be less demand for India’s exports, on the other, the Indian competitors, facing the same pressures, were liable to exert even harder to push their exports. He also said because of heightened uncertainties, the flows of foreign direct investment was liable to shrink.

The Prime Minister said India understood the bane of terrorism as at least 53,000 families in the country knew exactly the pain they were going through at the moment as terrorists had mowed down and blown up that number in the country over the last two decades.

He said “the world must strike at the roots of the system that breeds terrorism. We must stamp out the infrastructure that imparts the perverse ideological poison by which the terrorist is fired up. We must hold governments accountable for the terrorism that originates from their countries.” 


PM calls off visit to New York

New Delhi, September 14
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today called off his visit next week to New York in the wake of terrorist strikes, and his planned summit meeting with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf there will now not take place.

Mr Vajpayee was scheduled to attend the UN General Assembly session and also hold talks with the Musharraf. He was also expected to meet US President George W. Bush.

Mr Vajpayee has decided to remain in the country and not add to security demands when the US authorities were fully engaged in rescue operations both in New York and Washington following Tuesday’s terrorist strikes.

“This terrorist carnage against the USA calls for coordinated global response, particularly from countries like India who have also been its victims,” an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson told reporters.

“In view of this, the Prime Minister has decided that it is necessary for him to remain in India under the circumstances,” she said.

The Prime Minister has also deferred his visits to Cyprus and Tunisia which were part of this programme. Fresh dates for bilateral visits to Cyprus and Tunisia are being worked out through diplomatic channels. PTI

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