Wednesday, November 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

India, Russia forge front against terrorism
* Declaration decries double standards
* Putin wants Delhi to play role in Kabul
Hari Jaisingh

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Atar Behari Vajpayee
Russian President Vladimir Putin (below R) and Indian Prime Minister Atar Behari Vajpayee (below L) talk during a document-signing ceremony in Moscow on Tuesday, as Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov (above R) and his Indian counterpart Jaswant Singh (above L) look on. — Reuters photo

Moscow, November 6
India and Russia signed the far reaching Moscow Declaration on international terrorism declaring that the struggle against this scourge had become one of the priority tasks of the world community.

The documents signed by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Russian President Vladimir Putin affirmed at the highest level that “decisive measures” should be taken against all states which supported terrorism by adopting an international law in this regard.

Mr Vajpayee’s thrust that international terrorism posed the most serious threat to peace and security was echoed in ample measure by Mr Putin. The two leaders maintained that “violent actions perpetuated under the slogan of self determination are in reality acts of terrorism mostly with strong international links.”

Speaking after the signing ceremony in a chandeliered hall of the Kremlin here this afternoon, Mr Putin sought India’s active involvement in resolving the Afghanistan problem without changing the existing six-plus-two mechanism.

Impartial observers here wondered if India could be an effective player in the prevailing scenario without enlarging the six-plus-two arrangement. The six comprise Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Pakistan and China while Russia and the USA form the two.

Without naming Pakistan, Mr Putin decried the double standards adopted by certain countries in combating terrorism. He felt India’s involvement in resolving the Afghanistan crisis would be desirable because of New Delhi’s understanding of the issues at stake.

Mr Putin was guarded in his reference to Jammu and Kashmir and appeared reluctant to go the whole hog with India’s point of view. “Those who promote terrorism as a State policy have to be kept under watch and their activities curbed,” he observed. At the same time the Russian President favoured direct talks between India and Pakistan.

He side-stepped a question on Chechenya facing the challenge of terrorist violence. At the same time the Russian President observed that Indo-Russian “political dialogue is developing and our military-technical cooperation has risen to a new level.”

In his brief response, Mr Vajpayee stressed that the world community must tackle terrorism effectively. He drew pointed attention to India facing terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and said “it is time the world wakes up to such issues.

Official sources said Mr Vajpayee and Mr Putin discussed the Kashmir issue and the situation in Afghanistan in detail. There was a lot of commonality in their views on these issues.

The Moscow Declaration said the two sides also resolved to further develop cooperation in the struggle against new challenges in international terrorism encompassing nuclear, chemical, biological, space, cybernetics and other spheres. The close nexus between terrorism and illegal trafficking in narcotics, trade in arms and organised crime pointed to the significance of the need for close interaction at the bilateral and multilateral level in combating these challenges for international stability and security.

India and the Russian Federation emphasised the necessity to avert the spilling over of the conflict beyond the boundaries of Afghanistan to prevent further extension of terrorism. The two sides accorded the “highest priority to the continuation of effective interaction on Afghanistan in the framework of the Indo-Russian Joint Working Group on Afghanistan established between the two countries in October 2000.”

The two sides reaffirmed the central role of the United Nations in the efforts of the international community in the struggle against terrorism. They agreed that such a struggle must be conducted on the basis of international law including the United Nations Charter. India and the Russian Federation called for early completion of negotiations under UN auspices on the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and the Convention for the suppression of acts of Nuclear Terrorism. “Adoption of these conventions would assist in strengthening the international legal basis for effectively combating the global menace of terrorism,” the Moscow Declaration added.

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