India won’t succumb to terrorists: Mukherjee

April 23rd, 2008 - 8:37 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) A day after an Indian was kidnapped in Afghanistan, India Wednesday said it will be sending more security forces to ensure the safety of about 4,000 Indian workers in that country and stressed it will “not succumb” to the designs of terrorists. “We will not succumb to any pressure. We are sending more security forces to Afghanistan,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told journalists in parliament.

“Everyday there is a threat and some activities (by the militants). We have zero tolerance for terrorism,” he said while describing the kidnapping of an Indian in the western Afghan province of Heart as “unfortunate.”

“They want us to leave and return, but we are not going to do it,” he said while reiterating India’s unflinching commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, a strategically located country that directly impinge on India’s vital interests in the region.

In November 2005, a driver working with the BRO, Ramankutty Maniappan, was kidnapped and killed by the Taliban. Following his death, India enhanced its security personnel, with nearly 400 members of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) guarding Indian installations and camps.

India is keeping a close watch on developments even as Afghan agencies are yet to trace Mohammad Nayeem, an Indian working for HEB International Logistics of Dubai, who was kidnapped Monday evening.

Kidnappers, who have not been identified, are yet to make any ransom demand or issue death threats for the Indian worker.

The kidnapping is the latest in a series of incidents targeted at around 4,000 Indians working in Afghanistan on various projects. The Taliban militia is suspected to be behind the attacks on Indians as they don’t want New Delhi to build the strategic Zaranj-Delaram road link that seeks to reduce Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistan for overland access to Central Asia and provide an alternative route for Indian goods to that country.

India has pledged $850 million for a slew of developmental projects in Afghanistan - a gateway to energy-rich Central Asia.

This is the third incident this year involving Indian workers in Afghanistan that faces a renewed threat from a resurgent Taliban.

Nearly a fortnight ago, a suicide bomber blew himself up next to an Indian road crew, killing two Indian workers and their Afghan driver.

On Jan 3, a suicide bomber ambushed an Indian Border Roads Organisation (BRO) convoy, killing two Indians - Manoj Kumar Singh and Desha Singh of the ITBP. Five people were injured in the attack.

This is the third incident this year involving Indian workers in Afghanistan that faces a renewed threat from a resurgent Taliban.

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