Archive for the ‘Manmohan Singh’ Category

Attacks push India and Pakistan into deep water: analysts

November 30, 2008

Outrage in India over the Mumbai attacks risks sparking a dangerous escalation in tensions with Pakistan, analysts say, even as Islamabad cautions against any knee-jerk reaction.

Having accused “elements in Pakistan” of involvement in the ruthless attacks that left 195 dead in India’s financial capital, the government here is now under extreme public pressure to exact some form of visible retribution.

The two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals are past masters of the art of military and diplomatic brinkmanship, but the stakes are heightened by looming general elections in India in which national security will be a key issue.

In a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh vowed that the perpetrators and organisers of the Mumbai assault would be made to pay “a heavy price.”

By Elizabeth Roche, AFP

Smoke billows from the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November ... 
Smoke billows from the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November 29, 2008. Outrage in India over the Mumbai attacks risks sparking a dangerous escalation in tensions with Pakistan, analysts say, even as Islamabad cautions against any knee-jerk reaction.(AFP/Pedro Ugarte)

On Saturday, Singh called a meeting of India’s army, navy and air force chiefs.

But while India would like to lean heavily on Islamabad to ensure it delivers on repeated promises to prevent Pakistani territory being used for anti-India activities, analysts say the government’s options are limited.

Former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra said New Delhi would be constrained by a lack of proof that Islamabad had any direct role in the attacks.

“There is little to suggest that the gunmen were sponsored by the Pakistani government,” Mishra said.

The scale and style of the assaults — involving multiple targets and hostage-taking — bore “the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda attacks in the Middle East and North Africa,” Mishra said.

“These are new elements that differentiate the Mumbai attacks from the parliament attack.”

In 2001, gunmen from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group attacked the Indian parliament, resulting in the complete rupture of diplomatic ties and pushing the rivals to the brink of war.

Former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal all but ruled out the possibility of India resorting to any cross-border military response.

“The Indian leadership would have to weigh very carefully the consequences of using the military option in the wider context of peace and stability in the region,” Sibal said.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari appealed for calm on Saturday and argued that any increase in Indo-Pakistan tensions would be a victory for the extremists.

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Mumbai Terror Attack: Why Wasn’t Intelligence Better?

November 29, 2008

It is the big question: Could more have been done to prevent the Mumbai massacre?

While terrorism experts say Indian special forces performed with remarkable bravery and professionalism in their battle with the terrorists, they believe the attacks should — and could — have been thwarted by better intelligence.

Professor Paul Wilkinson lectures in international relations at the University of St. Andrews and is joint editor of the academic journal Terrorism and Political Violence.

SKY News (UK)

He told Sky News: “We have to accept there was an intelligence failure. They should have nipped this in the bud but it wasn’t on their radar. Intelligence doesn’t come out of this very well. This was a major operation with lots of people involved. It wasn’t just a cell; there were teams of gunmen — lots of well trained people. A large number of people must have been in the know about this attack.”

Former SAS trooper Robin Horsfall, who took part in the storming of the Iranian embassy in 1980, also believes the international intelligence community should have known the attacks were being planned.

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Indian soldiers take cover during a military operation at the ... 
Indian soldiers take cover during a military operation at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. Commandos Saturday killed the last remaining gunmen in Mumbai’s Taj hotel to end a devastating attack by Islamic militants on India’s financial capital that left 195 dead, including 27 foreigners.(AFP/Pedro Ugarte)

Pakistan Withdraws Offer To Send Security Chief to India To Assist In Mumbai Investigation

November 29, 2008

Pakistan on Saturday withdrew an offer to send its spy chief to India to help investigate the Mumbai terrorist attacks, damaging efforts to head off a crisis between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Indian officials have linked the attacks to “elements” in Pakistan, raising the prospect of a breakdown in painstaking peace talks between South Asian rivals that has alarmed the U.S.

An Indian soldier runs to take cover in front of the Taj Mahal ... 
An Indian soldier runs to take cover in front of the Taj Mahal hotel as Indian troops and militants battle in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. Indian commandos killed the last remaining gunmen holed up at the luxury Mumbai hotel Saturday, ending a 60-hour rampage through India’s financial capital by suspected Islamic militants that rocked the nation.(AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

However, Washington also kept up the pressure on Pakistan with a suspected missile strike on an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold near the Afghan border that reportedly killed two people.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted on Friday that his country was not involved in the carnage that left more than 190 people dead in India’s financial capital.

With Pakistan promising to help identify and apprehend those responsible, Gilani‘s office said the head of the Inter Services Intelligence agency would go to India at the request of India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh.

However, Zahid Bashir, a spokesman for Gilani, told The Associated Press on Saturday that the decision had been changed and that a lower-ranking intelligence official would travel instead.

He declined to explain the about-face, which followed sharp criticism from some Pakistani opposition politicians and a cool response from the army, which controls the spy agency.

Bashir didn’t say who would be making the trip or when.

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India, Vietnam Pledge Closer Strategic Ties

July 7, 2007

Nhan Dan
Vietnam Communist Government News
July 7, 2007

Vietnamese and Indian Prime Ministers agreed to officially establish a strategic partnership between the two countries at their talks in New Delhi on July 6.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh noted that the strategic partnership marked a new breakthrough in bilateral relations and pave the way for the two countries’ all-faceted co-operation to expand further.

The strategic partnership will support each country’s durable growth and prosperity and work for the sake of peace, stability, co-operation and development in the Asia-Pacific and the world, the two PM said.

To promote this new strategic partnership, the two government leaders agreed to further bolster the two countries’ political ties in addition to establishing a strategic dialogue mechanism at the level of deputy foreign ministers.

They also reached agreement on continuing strengthening security and defence co-operation, especially in training and the sharing of information on anti-terrorism, sea pirates and transnational crimes.

Discussing bilateral relations, the two PMs were of the view that the friendship and multi-faceted co-operation between the two countries have been constantly strengthening and developing fruitfully.

On trade co-operation, the two PMs agreed to continue working to bring two-way trade to US $2 billion in 2010 and US $5 billion in 2015.

In this area, the Indian side said they took note of Vietnam’s request to recognise the Southeast Asian country’s full-fledged market economy and pledged to take necessary measures to enable Vietnamese products to enter Indian markets so as to balance two-way trade.

The Indian PM informed the Vietnamese counterpart on his government’s decision to lend Vietnam a US $45 million credit with preferential treatments for the building of a hydro-electricity power plant.

On regional and international issues, PM Dung expressed his support for India’s “Look East” policy which was tailored to link India closely with Southeast Asia. He said Vietnam is willing to work as a bridge between India and other ASEAN countries so that all can work together for the goal of prosperity and stability in the region.

PM Dung took the occasion to thank India for its active support for Vietnam’s admission to the World Trade Organisation and its candidacy for the non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council in the 2008-2009 term.

The Indian PM singled out Vietnam’s support to India’s quest for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council.

PM Dung invited his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to visit Vietnam at a convenient time for both sides. Indian PM Singh accepted the invitation with pleasure and the visit will be arranged through the diplomatic channel.

* On the same day, PM Dung was taken through a host of activities, including paying a floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial monument, visiting President Abdul Kalam, and meeting with several Indian leaders.

At his courtesy visit to President Abdul Kalam, PM Dung highlighted India’s aid and co-operation, especially in the fields of science and technology, education and training, credit and agriculture.

Discussing bilateral co-ordination at regional and international forums, the Vietnamese leader reaffirmed his country’s support for India’s bid to become a permanent member of the expanded United Nations Security Council while appreciating the South Asian country for backing its own run for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in the 2008-2009 term.

At the meeting with the Indian National Congress Party Chairwoman Sonia Gandhi and other leaders, PM Dung thanked the Party and the Indian people for their assistance to the Vietnamese people in the struggle for national liberation and re-unification and the present course of national construction.

He said he was pleased to know that the Indian Government, under the leadership governance of the Indian National Congress Party, has been persistent in its policy of enhancing ties with Vietnam.

During his busy working agenda, PM Dung also met Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) Shri Somnath Chatterjee in which he asked the congressman to call on political circles to make efforts to elevate the two countries’ relationship into a strategic partnership.

Such efforts would bring the two countries’ ties and the relations between the Vietnamese National Assembly and the Indian House of the People to a new level, PM Dung stressed.

At a meeting with General Secretary of the Communist Party of India A.B Bardhan, PM Dung highlighted the reliable and close relations between the two parties.

The Vietnamese public are highly conscious of the support given by the CPI and the Indian people, the Vietnamese leader said.

PM Dung also met with General Secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Prakash Karat and reiterated Vietnam’s wish to further strengthen Vietnam-Indian ties.

While receiving the leader of the Opposition of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), PM Dung spoke highly of the contributions of the Party president Shri L. K. Advani and the BJP to the consolidation of Vietnamese-Indian relations, saying that the two parties need further exchanges.

At all the meetings, Indian leaders warmly welcomed the Vietnamese Prime Minister’s visit, describing it as highly important to the two countries as they have recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

Earlier on July 5, PM Dung said at the Vietnam-India Business Forum that the Vietnamese State and Government always created favourable conditions for Indian investors in Vietnam, especially Indian major groups to invest in fields such as information technology, electricity, oil and gas, metallurgy, coal, transport, agriculture, fisheries, food processing, health care and medicine.

At the forum, PM Dung witnessed the signing of a US $300 million co-operation agreement on hydro power plant construction, a US $200 million joint venture contract on oil and gas exploitation and an agreement on training.

During the visit, businesses of the two countries signed contracts and business agreements worth a combined US $4.5 billion. (VNA)