PM vows not to give up war against terror (Lead)

September 28th, 2008 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghOn Board PM’s Special Aircraft, Sep 28 (IANS) With terrorists attacking major Indian cities at will, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday said India will “never give up the war against terror” and underlined the tightening of intelligence gathering and investigative processes to deal with such incidents in the future. “It was most unfortunate that this blast has taken place. My heart goes out to those who have lost their dear ones and who have suffered injuries,” the prime minister told reporters when asked about his reaction to a blast in Mehrauli of south Delhi Saturday afternoon.

The prime minister was speaking with mediapersons on his way from New York to Marseilles, where he will attend the India-EU summit. Manmohan Singh wrapped up his five-day visit to the US Saturday.

The moment the news of the Mehrauli blast trickled in, Manmohan Singh, who was then in New York, expressed “shock and grief” at the latest terror strike in the Indian capital in which two people were killed and 17 injured.

The prime minister, however, refused to speculate on the identity of the perpetrators of the Mehrauli blast. “It is not possible for me from this distance to comment on who is responsible for this outrage,” he said when asked whether terrorism hitting India was coming from across the border or it was a home-grown phenomenon.

“This outrage once again demonstrates that we have to further tighten our intelligence gathering and strengthen our investigation and prosecution processes,” the prime minister underlined.

“But we can’t give up the war against terror. We will fight with all the resoluteness that is necessary to deal with this menace,” the prime minister stressed.

National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, who is travelling with the prime minister, is in constant touch with officials in the home ministry and intelligence operatives in Delhi to monitor the situation in the aftermath of Saturday’s blasts.

Narayanan spent most of his time in the US meeting top officials US intelligence agencies and the department of home security and discussed with them the strengthening of India-US cooperation in combating this common scourge, government sources said. He brainstormed with them for some seven and half hours spread over three days to get an insight into the US’ counter-terror strategy.

Impressed by the US’ strategy that has ensured that there was not a single terror strike in that country after the 9/11 attack of the World Trade Center seven years ago, India is keen to learn from the US experience, the sources said. However, New Delhi is not sure whether they can copy some of the draconian measures introduced by the US to counter terror, the sources added.

The prime minister, however, did not say anything about the anti-terror law this time round.

Five days ago, speaking to reporters while flying from Frankfurt to New York, Manmohan Singh had indicated that his government was not closed to the idea of an anti-terror law. He has asked a group of top officials to study the report of the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily.

“I have not reached any conclusion yet,” the prime minister had said Sep 24.

The report has recommended a more stringent anti-terror law to deal with the recent spate of terror attacks in Indian cities, including the Sep 13 Delhi serial blasts.

Saturday’s blast, the second to hit the national capital in two weeks, came a day after Manmohan Singh rallied world leaders “to strengthen international cooperation to combat terrorism and to bring the perpetrators, organisers, financers and sponsors of terrorism to justice”.

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