With Mumbai terror on mind, UK’s Milliband comes to India

January 7th, 2009 - 8:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) With a probe revealing that the terrorists targeting Mumbai had “indirect links” with British individuals, UK’s Foreign Secretary David Milliband comes here next week to strengthen counter-terror cooperation with India amid simmering tensions in the region. Milliband will hold talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday and discuss the dossier of evidence presented by New Delhi to Islamabad linking Pakistan-based elements to the Mumbai carnage, official sources told IANS.

Milliband will also travel to Mumbai and make a major policy speech outlining Britain’s position on global terrorism and its support for India in the wake of the Mumbai carnage, the sources added.

Early this week, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon shared the material establishing the Pakistani link to the Mumbai bloodbath with British envoy Richard Stagg and other envoys of permanent members of the UN Security Council. To sustain international pressure on Pakistan, Indian diplomats have virtually briefed all heads of missions of foreign countries about the evidence relating to the Mumbai attacks.

India is likely to share more information related to the Mumbai attack with Britain when Mukherjee meets Milliband and discusses diplomatic options that could be deployed to compel Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage to justice.

Milliband, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, will also update Mukherjee on the G20 summit of the world’s leading economies that London will be hosting in April to devise a collective strategy to deal with the global financial crisis.

Britain’s spy agency MI5 director Jonathan Evans said in interviews published Wednesday that billing records have been uncovered revealing telephone calls between the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group suspected of being behind the Mumbai attacks and other countries, including Britain.

The MI5 chief also warned that Mumbai could become a model for future terrorist attacks in the same “iconic” way as Sep 11 strikes in the US.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown became the first foreign head of state to single out the Lashkar-e-Taiba for the Mumbai bloodbath when he visited India in December. Brown also sent a pointed message to Pakistan when he told its leaders that British intelligence agencies have found that two-third terror attacks in the world had their origins in Pakistani territory.

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