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Terror, ties to top PM's agenda abroad

Countering terror and deepening ties will figure high during PM's visit to UK and EU, reports Aloke and Nilova.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2006 21:59 IST
Aloke and Nilova
Aloke and Nilova

Talks on countering terrorism and deepening economic ties figure high in the talks that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will have with the leadership of Britain and the European Union during his six-day visit to London and Helsinki next week.

Singh will raise New Delhi’s continuing concerns over terrorism emanating from across the border with British Prime Minister Tony Blair including India’s “recent experiences as victim of terrorism”, a reference to the July 11 serial blasts in Mumbai that the police have said revealed involvement of ISI and a terror outfit that is based in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taeba.

India has already shared evidence with regard to the Mumbai blasts probe with the US.

"We will certainly bring them up to date ... on what we have suffered... We will be discussing all issues, which include our recent experiences as a victim of terrorism," Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told reporters ahead of Prime Minister’s visit. Delhi and London have been victims of terrorism and this would form a key part of the discussions with Britain, and later with the European Union as well.

The Blair-Singh Summit level meeting would be the fifth meeting at this level since September 2004 when the two countries signed a joint declaration raising the level of the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic relationship.

Menon was briefing media on the eve of the Prime Minister’s departure on Monday to the UK and Finland, during which the issue of civil nuclear cooperation will also be discussed. Singh is visiting Helsinki for a bilateral meeting and also the seventh India-EU summit.

Blair and Singh will address the UK-India Investment Summit. Commerce and industry minister, Kamal Nath and his British counterpart, Alistair Darling will also discuss opportunities and barriers to India-UK bilateral Trade at the summit and Investment (UKTI) under the Indo-British Partnership.

The focal points of the British leg of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's two-nation visit, beginning Monday, are the cooperation in counter terrorism, collaboration in education and research, under the aegis of the UK-India Education and Research Initiative, and the business component, spokesman for the British High Commission, Jeff Wilson said.

There will be a meeting between business leaders at which "substantial investments" will be firmed up.

On the civil nuclear programme, the foreign secretary noted the United Kingdom’s supportive position but emphasised that the 25-nation European Union – a majority of them are members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group – did not have a common position on this issue.

Besides a bilateral meeting with the Finnish prime minister in Helsinki, Martti Ahtisaari, Manmohan Singh will participate in the EU-India Summit. India and the EU had drawn up a joint action plan at the sixth summit in 2005; implementation of this action plan will be reviewed at the summit.

First Published: Oct 07, 2006 21:28 IST