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India, US must fight global terror: PM

Manmohan contended that New Delhi sought a neighbourhood of peace and prosperity.

india Updated: Mar 03, 2006 18:36 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said India and the US must fight terrorism wherever it exists as it threatens democracy everywhere.

Manmohan contended that New Delhi sought a neighbourhood of peace and prosperity.

"We seek a world free of poverty, ignorance, disease and the threat of terrorism. The US and India must work together in all possible foray to these ends," he said welcoming President George W Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at a luncheon hosted by him in their honour.

"We must fight terrorism wherever its exists, because terrorism anywhere threatens democracy everywhere," the Prime Minister said.

He said that India wanted a neighbourhood of peace and prosperity, and added while the sub-continent had been home to all great religions, it was a "powerhouse" of human creativity.

"With wisdom and farsightedness, we South Asians can transform not just this region but the whole world," he said adding in the journey of development and modernisation, and social change and empowerment, India saw the United States as a "partner, a friend and a well-wisher."

Among those present at the luncheon were UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and IK Gujral, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha LK Advani, several Cabinet ministers, some chief ministers, BJP President Rajnath Singh, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Rajya Sabha MP Shobhana Bhartia, Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Sensor Board Chairperson Sharmila Tagore, top officials, industrialists and US delegates.

Describing Bush as a "true friend" of India, Singh said he had always been touched by the US leader's warm praise for this country and the Indian people.

"We sincerely acknowledge your (Bush's) deep personal commitment to a closer economic and strategic partnership between our two countries," he said.

Manmohan recalled that at their very first meeting the American President had paid tributes to the country's efforts to achieve economic and social salvation in the framework of an open society and open economy.

"I am deeply touched by your admiration for Indian democracy and our commitment to pluralism and modernism," the Prime Minister said.

Appreciating the firm stand taken by Bush against upsurge of protectionist forces in the US, he said that in taking this stand the US leader had not only cemented closer relations between the two countries, but also helped America retain its edge in the global market.

Voicing the hope that Bush will return to India to spend time with students and teachers and discover a new India in the making, Singh said he was "truly sorry" that the US President and his wife were not being taken to Taj Mahal this time.

"I am truly sorry that the President is not taking you to Taj Mahal this time! I hope he will be more chivalrous the next time you are here!" the Prime Minister told the first lady Laura Bush.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 16:15 IST