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G8 statement 'important gain' for India

By Archana Masih in St Petersburg
July 17, 2006 21:44 IST
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The statement on terrorism issued by the G8 leaders is an important diplomatic gain for India, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said in St Petersburg on Monday evening.

Briefing the media accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Indian leader's meetings with G8 heads of government and other leaders, the foreign secretary felt the G8 leaders's 'readiness to undertake all necessary measures to bring to justice the perpetrators, organisers and sponsors of these and other terrorist acts and those who incite the perpetrators to commit them' was a very important and clear message.

The prime minister, Saran said, briefed the leaders on his visit to Mumbai and his meetings with those injured in last Tuesday's acts of terrorism.

Dr Singh spoke of victims who had lost their limbs in the tragedy and said no cause could justify the murder of innocent people.

The prime minister requested the G8 leaders to send out a strong message that there would be zero political tolerance for terrorism.

Dr Singh described last week's events in Mumbai and Srinagar as a 'ghastly tragedy' and thanked the G8 leaders for their solidarity, condemnation of the terrorism and their conviction that the perpetrators of these crimes must be brought to justice.

It was a long and tiring day for the prime minister who flew into the Russian city after a 6 hour, 25 minute flight from New Delhi.

His day began with a 45-minute meeting with President Bush, followed by a joint meeting with Russian President Vladmir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao, which focussed on terrorism, energy security and related issues.

Dr Singh also met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The meetings lasted a total of four-and-a-half hours.

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Archana Masih in St Petersburg