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In Brussels, Modi asks world leaders to unite in fight against terror

During his trip to the Belgian capital, Modi met top European Union leaders at the 13th EU-India Summit to set out concrete priority actions for the strategic partnership in areas such as trade and investment, climate, energy, water and migration in the next five years.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2016 06:43 IST
Belgium's foreign minister, Didier Reynders (L), and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) pay tributes to the victims of Brussels attack.
Belgium's foreign minister, Didier Reynders (L), and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) pay tributes to the victims of Brussels attack.(REUTERS)

People who believe in humanity should unite in the fight against terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday night, asserting that India will never bow before the global threat.

Addressing an event of the Indian community in Brussels, Modi said religion and terrorism should be “de-linked” and stressed that there was no point in differentiating between “good terror and bad terror”.

“Terrorism is a challenge for humankind, not just any nation or region. Those who believe in humanity should tackle terrorism together,” Modi said in the aftermath of last week’s terror strikes in Brussels by the Islamic State group that killed more than 30 people.

“India has not bent before terrorism, and there is no question of bending. I have spoken to many important leaders, including religious ones, and explained them of the need to delink terror from religion. No religion teaches terrorism,” he said after paying tributes to the victims of the Brussels attacks.

The United Nations faces the danger of becoming irrelevant if it fails to tackle the challenge, Modi said.

“In recent days in India, liberal Islamic scholars held a big meeting linked to Sufism…They said those who speak of terror are un-Islamic,” the Prime Minister said, referring to an event where he described Islam as a religion of “faith and peace”.

“The more such voices rise, the faster the radicalisation of youth can be prevented. We can’t tackle terrorism with bombs and guns.”

Modi held a summit with European Union leaders earlier in the day, vowing to boost counter-terrorism cooperation.

Read: PM Modi mourns Brussels victim Ganeshan, beckons Belgian investment

The Indian PM delivered a speech amid loud cheers, vowing to fight terror and listing out the achievements of his government. Here are three things he said

  • Terrorism is not a challenge to any nation, it is a threat to the humanity
  • Those who believe in humanity should together tackle terrorism
  • Terrorism and religion should be de-linked

The March 22 suicide bombings on an airport and a metro system loomed large over Modi’s visit to Brussels for the 13th EU-India summit, with the Prime Minister saying India shared Belgium’s pain.

In a joint statement after talks with European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, the leaders condemned the carnage as “an unacceptable affront to our open democratic societies”.

Modi also paid tributes to Raghavendran Ganeshan, an Infosys employee from India who died in the attacks.

On governance and economy

Modi listed out his achievements at the late-night event for the Indian diaspora, highlighting his government’s efforts to change the country’s image and pointing out that the ‘One Rank One Pension’ scheme for retired servicemen has been rolled out.

India is a bright ray in the global economic gloom, he said as the crowd chanted ‘Modi, Modi’.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power in 2014 promising to revive the economy and create much-needed jobs.

But while India is the world’s fastest-growing major economy, experts say it is still not expanding at a fast enough pace to provide employment for a burgeoning young population.

Modi said his government was committed to root out corruption.

He took veiled potshots at the previous Congress governments for alleged failure to provide electricity to India’s villages, though he did not name any party or individual.

Read: EU-India summit provides no breakthrough in Italian marines case row