British foreign secretary comes to India with Mumbai message

January 12th, 2009 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS) With the links of Pakistani elements in the Mumbai terrorist attack becoming increasingly clear, Britain will reinforce its diplomatic support and strengthen counter-terror cooperation with India when External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee holds talks with his British counterpart David Milliband here Tuesday. Milliband arrives here on a four-day visit Tuesday afternoon amid deepening tensions in the region as an assertive New Delhi mobilises international support to compel Pakistan to honour its bilateral and multilateral commitments to root out terrorism, which has found sanctuaries in Pakistan.

Mukherjee is expected to share more information related with the Nov 26 attack with Milliband and discuss Pakistan’s lack of response to the dossier of evidence New Delhi has presented to Islamabad linking Pakistan-based elements to the Mumbai carnage.

The two ministers are likely to discuss various diplomatic options in the UN and in other fora that could be deployed to put pressure on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage to justice.

The visit is part of the annual bilateral dialogue at the level of foreign ministers, the external affairs ministry said here Monday while announcing Milliband’s visit.

Milliband, secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, will also travel to Mumbai Thursday.

He is expected to make a major policy speech at the Hotel Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, the iconic hotel that was stormed by terrorists during the three-day siege, which will outline Britain’s position on global terrorism and its support for India in the wake of the Mumbai carnage.

He will also meet Indian business honchos at the Oberoi Trident, the other hotel the terrorists had targeted.

The choice of the hotels are clearly meant to underscore Britain’s close political and business ties and its resolve to stand by India in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Milliband will also update Mukherjee on the G20 summit of the world’s leading economies that London will host in April to devise a collective strategy to deal with the global financial crisis.

The two ministers will also discuss issues relating to climate change and discuss the developments in Afghanistan where British troops are deployed as part of the NATO-led force.

Milliband’s visit comes nearly a month after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown came here in an act of solidarity with India.

Brown was the first foreign head of state to single put Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based terrorist outfit, for the Mumbai carnage. Brown also sent a pointed message to Pakistan when he told Pakistani leaders that British intelligence agencies have found that two-thirds of terror attacks in the world had links with Pakistani territory.

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