Tuesday, November 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Look beyond Al-Qaida, Vajpayee tells Blair
Hari Jaisingh

London, November 12
It was virtually India Day at 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and his British counterpart, Mr Tony Blair, met this afternoon in a "cordial atmosphere" and exchanged views on Afghanistan, Indo-Pak relations and bilateral matters concerning India's trade and commerce with Britain. The plane crash in New York, however, cast its shadow on the talks.

Mr Blair reiterated Britain's known stand on terrorism without getting into the details of General Pervez Musharraf's latest outburst in New York.

While appreciating Britain's understanding and response in banning several terrorist organisations, Mr Vajpayee asked the international community to go beyond Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaida in its campaign and also target those who harbour, train and finance terror anywhere in the world.

Talking to newsmen at a joint Press conference with Mr Tony Blair, Mr Vajpayee said: "We have to go beyond Al-Qaida and target all those who are responsible for financing, harbouring and training terrorists anywhere".

Elaborating the Indian position, Mr Brajesh Mishra, National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, stated that the discussions between the two leaders did not focus on Kashmir, but Mr Blair underlined the disirability of Indo-Pak talks. The two leaders also discussed the post-Taliban set-up in Afghanistan.

Mr Mishra said emphatically that India had stakes in the future of Afghanistan. "We have our national security interests in the area as we are in the neighbourhood of Afghanistan. Moreover there are definite terrorist links between Afghanistan and Jammu and Kashmir."

Mr Blair, asked specifically about Pakistan as a sponsor of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, assured that the international campaign against terrorism would not remain confined to Al-Qaida or the Taliban alone but would focus on all terrorist networks. He also condemned the terrorist acts in Kashmir.

Mr Vajpayee gave a detailed account of Pakistan’s active involvement in cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

Recalling the October 1 attack on the J and K Assembly, Mr Blair in a forthright condemnation of terrorism said "it cannot ever be right for people to pursue their cause by slaughtering innocents."

He said: "All I can say is that the British position has not changed" and it has always opposed those pursuing terrorism against innocent civilians.

Asked by an Indian journalist whether it would take another September 11 type strikes on the USA and the October 1 suicide bomb attack in Srinagar to recognise the seriousness of terrorism in Kashmir, Mr Blair said: "People are well aware of acts of carnage involving innocent civilians including in Srinagar, which was strongly condemned by all."

Mr Vajpayee cautioned that any political vacuum in Afghanistan could worsen the political and security situation and stressed the need for installing an interim government as quickly as possible.

To this Mr Blair said that UN Special Envoy on Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi was making serious efforts to evolve a consensus on the issue. 


Vajpayee visits ‘Ground Zero’

New York, November 12
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee visited “Ground Zero”, the site where terrorists crashed into the World Trade Centre Towers in New York on September 11.

Before leaving for London last evening after attending the United Nations General Assembly session, Mr Vajpayee visited the site where about 5,000 persons, including over 200 Indians, were killed.

The Prime Minister placed a wreath at the site. PTI


PM criticised for ‘not meeting Sikhs’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 12
The president of the Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, today criticised the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, for his alleged failure to meet the members of the Sikh community during his trip of the USA.

Members of the Sikh community had come under attack and a person was killed in Orlando following the September 11 attack on World Trade Centre in New York, he said, adding: “Had Mr Vajpayee met the members of the Sikh community, the Prime Minister would have restored confidence amongst the community.”Back

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