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All forms of terrorism must be crushed: Bush
Hari Jaisingh

Washington, November 10
U.S. President George Bush recognised India’s serious concern of cross-border terrorism at his first summit with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and declared to fight this evil in all its forms.

Without naming Pakistan, the two leaders told mediapersons at the White House after their one-on-one meeting for 30 minutes here yesterday that “our coalition is strong and we must reject it (terrorism) in all its guises.”

Concurring with Mr Bush, Mr Vajpayee stressed, “We have to fight all forms of terrorism and win the battle. There is no other option.” Stating that cross-border terrorism had been engaging the attention of both India and the USA, he reaffirmed India’s complete support to the USA in the fight against terrorism.

Expectedly, Mr Bush refused to lay the blame for cross-border terrorism on Pakistan’s door with Islamabad playing the role of a frontline state in the US-led war against terrorism in Afghanistan. Besides, Mr Bush is scheduled to meet the Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, in New York in the next 48 hours.

The US President said: Mr Vajpayee understands that we have no option but to win the war against terrorism with the strong global coalition cutting off the finances of terrorist organisations”. He announced that both countries had decided to take a joint initiative in space for civilian purposes and launch a joint campaign against cyber terrorism.

When a scribe drew the attention of Mr Bush to the USA arraigning to itself a different set of standards while counselling India to show restraint in its ties with Pakistan which is promoting state sponsorship of terrorism, he said: “We must reject terrorism in all its forms and murder in all its guises in order for us to be peaceful.” In this content Mr Bush said he had strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on October 1.

Mr Vajpayee and Mr Bush strongly favoured a broad-based post-Taliban arrangement in Kabul representative of all sections of the Afghan people. Despite Washington’s reservations in expanding the six-plus-two mechanism as desired by the Russian Federation, the Prime Minister said the interests of neighbours, as indeed India, should be kept in mind in determining the political dispensation in Afghanistan in a post-Taliban scenario.

In an oblique reference to the Pakistan-Taliban nexus, Mr Vajpayee held steadfast to the view that efforts should be made to ensure that the new regime in Afghanistan did not export terrorism or extremist ideology for the stability of the region.

As the world’s largest democracy, Mr Bush said Washington looked forward to building ties to boost economic and trade relations with India. He said his administration was committed to developing fundamentally different relations with India based on trust and mutual values. Mr Bush accepted Mr Vajpayee’s invitation to visit India “as soon as possible.”

After the summit, India and the USA issued a joint statement outlining seven key areas of cooperation including strengthening the New Strategic Framework, working jointly in the nuclear sphere for peaceful purposes, expanding defence cooperation and strengthening the bilateral counter-terrorism mechanism and holding consultations on the future of Afghanistan.

In the defence sphere, the Defence Policy Group will meet in New Delhi in December besides reinstating the Joint Submarine Rescue arrangement. Both sides are prepared to approve a minimum of $ 800,000 to enhance peace keeping capabilities.

Union Home Minister L.K. Advani has been invited to Washington for talks on counter-terrorism cooperation. The anti-terrorism and interdiction assistance will be enhanced coupled with joint initiative for tackling cyber terrorism.

On Afghanistan, President Bush and Prime Minister Vajpayee acknowledged an active role for India in consultations on the political and economic future of Afghanistan. American State Department coordinators on Afghanistan will visit India soon.

The New Strategic Framework calls for enhanced consultations on the US missile defence plans, establishing a new “New Strategic Framework Dialogue”, enlarging cooperation on export controls and discussing means to stimulate bilateral high technology commerce between the two countries.

The two sides hailed the economic dialogue as broad based with public and private sector interaction and cooperation in trade, finance, commerce, energy and environment. The State Department Under Secretary dealing with these matters will be visiting Delhi in January for discussions on global issues.Back

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