Tuesday, December 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

India, Japan for total elimination of terrorism
Ashwini Bhatnagar
Tribune News Service

Tokyo, December 10
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today told the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr Junichiro Koizumi, that though India was prepared to talk to Pakistan, Kashmir could not be the focal point of discussion. Mr Koizumi suggested that as the G-8 summit was scheduled to discuss terrorism, the two countries should cooperate with each other at that forum too.

The Prime Minister, who met his Japanese counterpart today for over 30 minutes after he was formally received in the Capital, said India had always stood for dialogue with its neighbour.

Later, the two sides released a joint declaration that said that there was no place for a nation which talked against global terrorism but continued to support it in one way or the other. Pakistan was not named by either side but it was obvious that the country’s support to terrorist groups inside Jammu and Kashmir came up for discussion during the talks.

Incidentally, Japan is the biggest aid donor to Pakistan and the two countries have shared close ties. The Japan-Pakistan relations are supposed to be closer than the Japan-India ties over a period of time. Yet, the two sides stood shoulder to shoulder today and the joint declaration issued after Mr Vajpayee’s meetings with the PM and the Japanese Finance and Foreign Ministers, clearly expressed opposition to terrorism — wherever, whenever and for whatever reason.

The two leaders said they believed that the fight against terrorism had to be comprehensive and sustained with the objective of total elimination of terrorism in all regions. They shared the view that the fight was not only against the perpetrators of terrorist acts but also against those who provided support, sustenance and safe haven to such persons. In this regard, they shared the view on the importance of implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions pertaining to terrorism and the 12 UN counter-terrorism conventions.

They also recognised the importance of strengthening the international legal framework against terrorism and Japan confirmed that it would cooperate with India for early adoption of India’s proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism , which is currently under discussion in the UN. The joint declaration marks a sort of a watershed in Japan-India ties as the two sides have decided to comprehensively develop economic and strategic ties that Mr Vajpayee has been referring to ever since he arrived on Japanese soil on December 7.

That the two leaders share a special rapport was underscored by the fact that they had decided to wear similar jackets during the meeting. Mr Vajpayee was the one who could not wear the specially tailored jacket as it was too short for him. He apologised for not having kept his commitment and said he would have to go on a diet to fit into it. He assured that the next time around he would have reduced sufficiently to wear this piece of clothing.

Mr Vajpayee raised a toast to the “continued peace, progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Japan” and “to eternal friendship” between the two nations at a banquet hosted by the Japanese Prime Minister later in the evening. The spirit of bonhomie between the two delegations was palpable during all the meetings.

The Prime Minister also described the birth of a baby daughter to the crown prince and the princess as the arrival of “kanya rattan” and said he had come to the country at an auspicious moment. A navrattan necklace was sent to the Royal Palace as a gift to the girl child. Mr Vajpayee is scheduled to have an audience with the Emperor tomorrow morning before he emplanes for New Delhi.

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