V S Chandrasekar in United Nations
In yet another veiled attack on Pakistan, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Saturday told the United Nations General Assembly that some states followed a policy of sponsoring and sheltering terrorists and asked the international community to "firmly rebuff any ideological, political or religious justification for terrorism".
"Some states follow a policy of sponsoring and sheltering terrorism. They can only be countered through closely coordinated efforts of the international community," Vajpayee said, addressing the 56th General Assembly session of the UN.
"We must firmly rebuff any ideological, political or religious justification for terrorism. We should reject self-serving arguments seeking to justify terrorism according to its root causes and, therefore, justifying action somewhere while condemning it elsewhere. Those that advance these arguments should explain what the root causes of the brutal acts of September 11 were," he said.
The prime minister said the people in India knew from their bitter experience that terrorists developed global networks driven by religious extremism.
Vajpayee said it required the political will of the freedom-loving world to implement the UN Security Council resolutions on terrorism to strictly curb sources of financing for terrorists and denying them safe havens for training, arming and operation.
Referring to the "barbaric terrorist acts" on the US, he said this reminded the world that neither distance nor power could insulate a state from terrorism
Declaring India's support to the current campaign against terrorist networks in Afghanistan, Vajpayee expressed hope that it reached an early and successful conclusion.
Afghanistan's current travails could only end with the establishment of a broad-based, representative and neutral government, which would stop the export of terrorism and extremism, he said.
The international community should work towards this even while the military campaign continued so that a political vacuum could be avoided at the end of the campaign, he said.
The prime minister said it must be recognised that the current structures to facilitate a post-Taleban political settlement were unrepresentative and therefore ineffective.
"Located as it is in Afghanistan's neighbourhood, India's vital national interests are affected by developments in it. We also have close links with Afghanistan. That is the basis for our belief that India can play a useful role in this process," he said.
Drawing the international community's urgent attention to reconstruction of a post-conflict Afghanistan, the prime minister said it required a massive external assistance to create an economic situation conducive to the rehabilitation of the millions of Afghan refugees in the region.
"Again India stands ready to join international efforts for this," he said.
The prime minister said India had already announced relief assistance of a million tonnes of wheat and medical assistance for needy Afghans within and outside the country.
It had also pledged $100 million to a post-conflict Afghanistan for reconstruction.
"We are prepared to do more," he said.
He said the September 11 terrorist attacks represented an arrogant rejection of the values of freedom and tolerance, which democratic and pluralistic societies cherish.
Vajpayee also took the opportunity to congratulate UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the UN on being honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize.
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