India seeks Saudi support in pressuring Pakistan over Mumbai attack (Lead)

December 26th, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 26 (IANS) In the wake of the Nov 26 terror attack in Mumbai, India Friday sought the diplomatic support of Saudi Arabia in pressurising Pakistan to act against anti-India terror outfits in that country. India underlined that terrorism is a global phenomenon that has to be dealt with jointly.External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee held talks with his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud Al-Faisal and shared evidence of the complicity of elements in Pakistan in the Nov 26 Mumbai terror attacks, official sources said.

Saudi Arabia, which enjoys close links with Washington, has been a key ally of Pakistan in the Muslim world and has enormous clout over the powers-that-be in that country.

New Delhi also sought Riyadh’s support in clamping down on the financing of terrorists, some of whom use Saudi charities and other fronts for generating funds for terrorist activities in India, the sources said.

“Terrorism is a cancer, we need to cut it out,“ said the Saudi foreign minister, while calling for the United Nations to set up an international body to deal with Mumbai-like terror attacks.

A special body of all countries should be set up so that Mumbai-like incidents are not repeated, the Saudi minister said.

“In the meeting it was agreed that global terrorism has to be dealt with through joint action by all countries,” Mukherjee said after talks with his Saudi counterpart.

“Whatever action has to be taken to control terrorism should be taken without further delay and with transparency,” he added.

“It’s not an issue between India and Pakistan but a global problem,” the minister stressed.

Mukherjee also invoked transformed ties between India and Saudi Arabia following King Abdullah’s visit to New Delhi in 2006 and sought Riyadh’s support in putting pressure on Islamabad.

The Saudi foreign minister, who is on a day-long visit to India, also met Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma and Vice-President Hamid Ansari before leaving for Riyadh in the evening.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to go to Saudi Arabia early next year. He was set to go to Riyadh last month, but had to defer his plan due to prior commitments of the Saudi king.

India and Saudi Arabia signed an all-encompassing Delhi Declaration in 2006 and inked a pact on combating terrorism. This was the third visit from a Muslim country since the Nov 26 Mumbai terror attacks.

Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawai Bin Abdullah came here last week and offered India support in tracking down perpetrators of the Mumbai strikes. Iran’s deputy foreign minister Mohammad Mehdi Akhondzadeh also met Mukherjee last week and asked Pakistan to intensify its efforts to crack down on terror outfits.

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