India on Monday said the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden “deep inside Pakistan” underscored its concern about its neighbouring country becoming a sanctuary for terrorists. Simultaneously, New Delhi urged Islamabad to crack down on perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh welcomed bin Laden’s killing as a significant step forward” and hoped it would deal “a decisive blow” to al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations.
“The international community and Pakistan in particular must work comprehensively to end the activities of all such groups who threaten civilised behaviour and kill innocent men, women and children,” he said.Union home minister P Chidambaram said the killing of the global terrorist in Pakistan vindicated India’s stand that terrorists belonging to different organisations found sanctuary there.
“We take note with grave concern that part of the statement in which US president Barack Obama said the firefight in which Osama bin Laden was killed took place in Abbottabad ‘deep inside Pakistan’,” Chidambaram said.
He said in the wake of Bin Laden’s killing “we believe that perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks, including the controllers and handlers of the terrorists who actually carried out the attacks, continue to be sheltered in Pakistan.”
He urged Pakistan to arrest the persons whose names had been handed over to its interior minister and provide voice samples of certain persons who are suspected to be among the controllers and handlers of the terrorists.
External affairs minister SM Krishna noted the al Qaeda leader’s killing as a “historic” and “victorious milestone”. He said, “Over the years, thousands of innocent lives of men, women and children have been tragically lost at the hands of terrorist groups.”
“The world must not let down its united effort to overcome terrorism and eliminate the safe havens and sanctuaries that have been provided to terrorists in our own neighbourhood. The struggle must continue unabated,” he added.
Congress and BJP said bin Laden’s killing vindicated India’s stand that terrorists found shelter in Pakistan.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “The neutralisation underscores the point which India has been making for over three decades now that Pakistan has become a sanctuary for terrorist elements of various shades and hues.”
BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Osama was killed in Pakistan, almost in the backyard of its capital, Islamabad. This is the final confirmation of the hard fact that Pakistan remains the epicentre of global terror...”
India steps up security
In the light of Laden’s death, the Centre has asked all states to tighten security, particularly places having American or Jewish installations.
The home ministry asked authorities in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata to beef up security around the US consulates. The states have also been asked to keep vigil on tourist destinations frequented by foreigners. Meanwhile, the BSF is on high alert in Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal. Sources claim a close eye is being kept on Attari where trains arrive from Pakistan. In Mumbai too, security has been tightened to pre-empt any possible "retaliation" by terror outfits, the police said. Tech hubs in Bangalore and Hyderabad, have also been put on high alert.