In a mark of solidarity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday night to offer his condolences for the loss of lives in the Peshawar school attack .
A soldier escorts schoolchildren after they were rescued, in Peshawar on Tuesday. (Reuters photo)
In a call that lasted 12 minutes and was made at 10.30pm, soon after Sharif returned to Islamabad from Peshawar, Modi condemned the Taliban attack in the strongest terms while also stating that the “shared pain and mourning is a call for our two countries and all those who believe in humanity to join hands to decisively and comprehensively defeat terrorism”.
At a time when the world is getting disturbingly accustomed to acts of terror, the PM said “this terrible tragedy has shaken the conscience of the world”.
Joining hands to fight terror would ensure “children in Pakistan, India and elsewhere do not have to face a future darkened by the lengthening shadow of terrorism”, the Prime Minister added.
Modi had attempted to call Sharif at 7pm too, when the Pakistani Prime Minister was still in Peshawar, but that call couldn’t be completed due to a technical glitch, sources said.
Prior to the call, a series of meetings was held at the Prime Minister’s Office that involved senior officials and heads of security agencies. According to sources in the top rungs of the government, it was felt that India should extend solidarity to its neighbour and stress the need to fight the scourge of terrorism together.
“The Prime Minister said this savage killing of innocent children, who are the epitome of the finest human values, in a temple of learning was not only an attack against Pakistan but an assault against all of humanity,” said a release from the external affairs ministry.
During the meetings at the PMO, national security adviser Ajit Doval also reviewed the security situation in the country. Security arrangements in Delhi — already on high alert in the wake of intelligence that the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba was planning attacks — were heightened.
My heart goes out to everyone who lost their loved ones today. We share their pain & offer our deepest condolences.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 16, 2014