26/11 failed, says Obama, paying homage to victims (Lead)

November 6th, 2010 - 4:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Mumbai, Nov 6 (IANS) US President Barack Obama Saturday called Mumbai “a symbol of incredible optimism” as he paid homage to victims of the 2008 terror attack, saying the terrorists “failed” to demoralize India.

“Here in Mumbai, the diversity that is India’s strength was in full display… Those who attacked Mumbai wanted to demoralise this city and this country but they failed,” Obama said addressing families of some of the dead at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, one of the targets of the Pakistani terrorists in November 2008.

“The very next day, Mumbaikars came back to work… Within weeks, this hotel was welcoming guests from around the world,” he said in a sombre yet powerful tone as wife Michelle stood by his side.

Saturday marked the start of his four-day trip that will later take him to New Delhi. In Mumbai, he will stay at the very Taj hotel where he spoke.

“The Taj is a symbol of strength and resolve,” he said.

“Just as Indians lost their lives on 9/11, Americans lost their lives on 26/11.”

Obama said his visit to Mumbai was “absolutely” intended to send a message. “Mumbai is a symbol of the incredible energy and optimism that defines India in the 21st century.”

Obama said he “will never forget the awful images of 26/11″ and called the terrorists “murderers” who sneaked into Mumbai to kill “innocent civilians”.

A total of 166 Indians and foreigners, Americans included, were massacred when 10 terrorists from Pakistan went on a killing spree in Mumbai for three long days from Nov 26.

He said the Indian and US governments were working more closely than ever to keep people safe by sharing intelligence.

“We go forward with confidence because we know that history is on our side,” he said.

He said he looked forward to deepening counter-terror cooperation “when I meet Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh in New Delhi”.

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