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Kabul bombing attack on friendship, but India not deterred: PM

india Updated: Aug 04, 2008 20:46 IST

Viewing the Kabul embassy bombing as an attack on Indo-Afghan friendship, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday asserted that an undeterred India will continue reconstruction tasks in Afghanistan for which he announced a fresh aid of $ 450 million.

The two countries decided to work "unitedly and with firm determination" to defeat terrorism as Singh held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai with particular focus being on ways to deal with the menace that is posing "serious threat" to the security and stability of the two nations.

During the 90-minute meeting, the two leaders discussed the July 7 suicide attack on Indian embassy in Kabul, for which both the countries have blamed Pakistan's ISI, and security of Indian assets and nationals in Afghanistan.

The Kabul bombing was "an attack on the friendship between India and Afghanistan," Singh said addressing the mediapersons along with Karzai after the talks.

Noting that the talks took place against the "backdrop of serious threat posed by terrorism to security and stability of Afghanistan, India and the region", he said two leaders agreed to fight the menace "unitedly and with firm determination".

Observing that Karzai's visit was taking place at a "critical juncture" in India, Afghanistan and the region, Singh said India and Afghanistan will not allow terrorism to stand in the way of boosting their friendly relations.

Karzai said Afghanistan and India face the common challenge of terrorism and "cold-blooded murderous activities" and stressed the need for "defeating terrorism and eliminating the menace completely".

The two nations, as also the world at large, have "no option but to be united in the fight against terrorism" as it is "our moral responsibility as human beings to protect" the people, he said.

Singh conveyed to Karzai India's "abiding commitment" to Afghanistan's efforts to build a democratic, pluralistic, stable and prosperous society, which he said was necessary for regional peace and stability.

As a demonstration of India's continued commitment towards rebuilding of Afghanistan, Singh announced a new assistance of 450 million dollars (approx Rs 2,000 crore) to meet the requirement of ongoing and forthcoming projects.

The fresh amount will be in addition to 750 million dollars already committed by India in Afghanistan to implement projects in various sectors including infrastructure development, education, healthcare and social development.

Karzai's visit came two days after Singh confronted Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Colombo over the Kabul attack, forcing the latter to promise a probe into the incident to ascertain whether or not ISI was involved.

Gilani told Singh that he would talk to Karzai about the incident, which he did yesterday. Karzai is understood to have apprised Singh about his discussions with Gilani.

"The attack on our embassy in Kabul on July 7 has tragically shown that terrorism has no barriers and is not bound by restraints," Singh said.

Condemning the embassy attack in Kabul as well as the serial bombings in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, Karzai said India, like Afghanistan, has suffered "immensely".