M A I N   N E W S

Manmohan, Blair for anti-terror law
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 8
The issue of international terrorism dominated the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his visiting UK counterpart Tony Blair in Udaipur today as the two Premiers agreed that there could be no justification whatsoever for terrorism on any grounds and the two sides would work together to bring about an international law on zero tolerance for terrorism.

The two leaders also discussed greater cooperation between India and the United Kingdom in fields of energy, trade and science and technology. Mr Blair reaffirmed his country’s commitment to India’s candidature for permanent membership of the expanded United Nations Security Council.

After their summit meeting in Udaipur, Dr Manmohan Singh, at a joint press conference with Mr Blair at Hyderabad House here this evening , said they agreed that there could be no justification whatsoever for terrorism on any grounds - religious, political, ideological or any other.

Mr Blair said what the world was witnessing today in Iraq and Afghanistan was terrorism from those people who had perverted faith. He said the menace had to be dealt with not simply through security means but by going to its roots. He pointed out that a majority of people, the so-called Islamic terrorists, were killing worldwide were Muslims only.

The two leaders also focused on measures to significantly enhance their trade and investment exchanges including in the new and promising area of healthcare and in promoting exchanges in the area of services.

Several MoUs and agreements were finalised during this meeting. These include — cooperation in the area of hydrocarbons which is important for India’s overall energy policy; a new air services agreement; an agreement on co-production of films; an agreement on intellectual property rights.

Dr Manmohan Singh conveyed to Mr Blair about India’s decision of founding a Chair named after Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru at Cambridge University. The Prime Minister hailed Mr Blair’s education initiative saying,

He recalled that this was his third meeting with Mr Blair since September last year. “At our London meeting a year ago we had adopted a Joint Declaration on a strategic partnership which outlined the direction in which we wish to take our relationship forward. Our relationship is very special and one which contains exceptional potential. Both the governments are determined to realise this potential to the advantage of our people and our bilateral relationship,” he said.

A Joint Economic Commission has been created to systematically advance mutual trade and investment as a follow up to the direction given by the Joint Declaration last year. An Indo-British Joint Science and Innovation Council has been set up to explore new high technology areas of collaboration. A financial and economic dialogue at the level of Finance Ministers has also been launched.

Mr Blair left for UK in the evening.

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