'London, J&K terror linked'
He says, terrorists in London and J&K were motivated by the same kind of hatred, writes Vir Sanghvi.india Updated: Sep 08, 2005 14:52 IST
British Prime Minister Tony Blair believes that the terrorist bombers who struck London in July were motivated by the same kind of hatred and fanaticism as terrorists in Kashmir and Afghanistan.
In an interview to the Hindustan Times, Mr Blair said that he did not believe that terrorist violence was merely a response to foreign policy. “The roots of this go very, very deep. And the roots are found in the teaching of hatred at a very, very early age.”
Asked if he was concerned that so many of the London bombers had Pakistani origins or had attended Pakistani madrasas, Mr Blair said, “Yes, of course.” The answer he said was to tackle “the culture and ideology of extremism that breeds it”.
He added that it was “important to work with Pakistan on this. And I welcome the measures that President Musharraf has taken.”
In answer to a question about whether the London experience had made him more sympathetic to the terrorist violence that India has faced, Mr Blair said that he did not agree with the view that extremists did have justifiable grievances. But that they pursued these grievances in an unjustifiable way. “There isn’t a justifiable grievance that can,” he replied, “permit the killing of innocent women and children in this way.”
Mr Blair conceded that international terrorists may have used the invasion of Iraq to recruit more sympathisers to their cause but insisted that if it had not been Iraq, it would have been something else: “Before that, they used Afghanistan or Palestine or Kashmir or Bosnia.”
The British prime minister is frequently credited with transforming the India-UK relationship and he admitted that he had set out quite deliberately “to have a modern relationship with India”. He had wanted, he suggested, to escape the baggage of the past so that “the 21st Century relationship between India and Britain is a partnership of equals. India is, frankly, going to be one of the major powers of the world in the years to come and it is important for us to have a modern, sensible relationship.”
He spoke warmly of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with whom he has now had several meetings, but also spoke with great fondness of former prime minister A.B. Vajpayee. “I have a lot of affection for him,” he said.
Mr Blair is also here in his capacity as president of the European Union and he said about the new Joint Action Plan that it signified a complete change of gear for India and the EU.
First Published: Sep 08, 2005 01:57 IST