Tuesday, November 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Indo-Russian accord on tackling terrorism today
No room for ‘moderate’ Taliban in new Afghan govt
Hari Jaisingh

Moscow, November 5
India and Russia are set to impart fresh dynamism to their enlarging strategic relationship in fighting all forms of international terrorism which has assumed a new dimension in the wake of the September 11 airborne attacks in the USA.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee arrived here this afternoon on the first leg of his 10-day tour to three major capitals to put forth India’s stand that the international community should also act firmly against those involved in state sponsorship of terrorism.

During his wide-ranging discussions here tomorrow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Vajpayee will discuss the post-Taliban scenario in Afghanistan. New Delhi firmly believes that it has a role to play in establishing a representative and broad-based government in Afghanistan.

The two countries share identical views on Afghanistan and a host of other international, regional and bilateral issues. India and Russia believe that there is no room for “moderate” Taliban elements to be part of any government in Kabul as propounded by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

In the run-up to Mr Vajpayee’s state visit to Russia, Moscow affirmed it will convey to the Bush administration in Washington that the USA needs to act “decisively and ruthlessly” against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and in dealing with the Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaida outfit.

All these aspects are expected to be reflected in the Moscow declaration to be signed tomorrow by Mr Vajpayee and Mr Putin. This was disclosed to mediapersons accompanying the Prime Minister by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov aboard Air India One during the flight from St Petersburg to Moscow.

Without naming Pakistan or any other country being used as a staging ground by terrorist organisations, Mr Klebanov stated that Russia also wanted such erring nations to be tackled firmly. Russia and India had adopted a coordinated approach as both countries were facing the same menace.

The Prime Minister’s discussions with the Russian leaders are also expected to speed up arms purchase for the defence services and the related technology transfer arrangements besides focussing on cooperative endeavours in the fields of nuclear energy, space, oil and gas, steel and diamonds.

Clearly, the endeavour of Mr Vajpayee and Mr Putin is to strengthen Indo-Russian relations which had got frayed during the leadership of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

In a bid to strengthen and consolidate bilateral relations in diversified areas like banking, education, culture, science and technology, no fewer than six agreements and documents were signed here today.

These pertained to a line of credit of US $ 10 million from EXIM Bank of India to Vnesheconombank to support exports of a wide range of eligible items from India to Russia on a deferred payment basis. An MOU was signed between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs to promote contacts and boost economic and commercial cooperation between Indian and Russian corporate houses. An MOU was also initialled between the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre. An agreement was reached between the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and the Indian Council of World Affairs. Another MOU was signed between the Department of Sciences and Technology and the Russian Academy of Sciences on the establishment of Indo-Russian Centre of Biotechnology in India. A Protocol of Intentions was concretised between the State Bank of India and the Central Bank of Russia on opening a subsidiary bank of India in Moscow.

The SBI and Canara Bank will form a joint venture with a 60:40 stake in it. The Bank is expected to be operational next year after the completion of the necessary formalities. This marks a significant step forward in the development of cooperation between India and Russia in the banking sector. It will meet a long standing demand of Indian and Russian businessmen for the servicing of trade through a well-established, reliable banking channel between the two countries.Back


Religious terrorism poses major threat
Intellectuals’ role vital in global fight: PM
Hari Jaisingh

St. Petersburg, November 5
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today warned of the global reach of terrorism and declared that the fight against this threat would have to be based on the widest possible international cooperation.

Even though intellectuals of India and Russia, along with their brethren all over the globe, had grappled with momentous issues and developments in the 20th century, the beginning of the new century had witnessed the emergence of terrorism as the main danger to peace, stability and a civilised world order, Mr Vajpayee observed.

Addressing intellectuals and Indologists here in the forenoon before leaving for Moscow, he said: “When terrorism feeds on religious extremism its destructive power increases manifold.

Mr Vajpayee said while Russia had faced this threat in the Caucasus, India had been facing it in Jammu and Kashmir and some other parts for the past decade and more. The horrendous terrorist attacks on the USA in September had highlighted the evil face of this new menace to all peace-loving and right-thinking people.

The Prime Minister said intellectuals, artists and literary figures “have an important responsibility in this global fight against terrorism and religious extremism. It is a historical truth that the world is ruled by ideas. And ideas dwell in the minds of intellectuals, teachers and scholars like you.”

He had no doubt that the best minds of India and Russia would continue to interact and influence each other to promote peace, brotherhood and enlightenment in the new century just as they did in previous centuries.

Underlining the need for closer collaboration between the scholars of India and Russia, Mr Vajpayee suggested the establishment of a “forum of Indologists” to give an impetus to bilateral cooperative endeavours.

In this context he said the Indian Council for Historical Research would provide the necessary assistance and expressed confidence that the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences would be a dynamic and worthy partner.

Mr Vajpayee announced the setting up of a Chair of Indology at St Petersburg University through the Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre in Moscow. Similar initiatives had also been taken to promote Indological studies in Moscow, Kazan and Vladivostok.

He called for imparting new dimensions to Indo-Russian cooperation in terms of scholarship and enterprise. He noted that in recent years Ayurveda, Yoga and other traditional systems of medicine had emerged as an attractive area of mutual collaboration between the two countries. There was immense scope for research, development and commercialisation in this area.

Mr Vajpayee expressed India’s gratefulness to St Petersburg for having initiated Indological studies in Russia. The legendary Gerasim Lebedev was not only the first Russian Indologist but also the founder of a professional theatre in Calcutta. “I salute the memory of the great scholar for founding the first printing press in the Bengali language in St Petersburg.”Back

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