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Terrorism dominates Sharon-Vajpayee talks
September 09, 2003 23:22 IST
Last Updated: September 09, 2003 23:50 IST
With the two countries facing years of terrorism, Israel on Monday offered to help India in the fight against the menace as they agreed on diversifying their relations by signing six agreements including one to combat the problem of drug trafficking.
The peace process in West Asia and the latest round of violence also came up for discussion during the 40-minute meeting between the two leaders.
According to the spokesman, Vajpayee told Sharon: 'It (terrorism) is a menace that particularly targets democratic societies, which have to fashion a global and comprehensive response to tackle it.'
Referring to the fact that both the countries have the common experience of the scourge of terrorism, Vajpayee said India was engaged in a determined struggle to defeat it and to bring pressure to bear on those who support it.
Concerned over the explosion near an Israeli army base near a Tel Aviv suburb, Sharon also came out strongly against the terror strike saying his country was determined to fight the scourge.
At least seven people were killed in the explosion. Israel has blamed Palestinian Authority and the Hamas militant group for the suicide bomb attack.
Sharon said India too was fighting the menace of terror for several years.
Stressing that there had to be 'fully cessation of terror', he said, "In our area we want peace."
Referring to bilateral ties with India, Sharon expressed confidence that it would move forward in many areas.
He spoke on the need for new areas of cooperation, including in the agriculture sector, farm research, science, public health, IT, telecommunication and cooperation in space.
After a formal welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, 75-year-old Sharon described India as 'one of the most important countries in the world' and expressed the hope his visit would help contribute to strengthening bilateral relations and achieving 'many things together in many fields'.
The day was also marked by symbolic protests by workers of Left parties, Muslim groups and rights activists opposing the red carpet welcome to a man they said was responsible for killing of many Palestinians.
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Yosef Lapid offered to India help in training personnel and providing material in its fight against terrorism. "We can train and teach and supply materials we have developed in fighting terrorism. We have developed a very advanced technology," he said.
As Sharon met various leaders including Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, the high-level defence delegation accompanying him discussed with Indian defence officials the US $1 billion deal for Phalcon airborne early warning radar system New Delhi plans to buy.
The two sides decided that a Joint Economic Committee be set up to identify new measures to stimulate trade, including trade facilitation packages and the Israeli industry could take advantage of synergies with India in various areas like telecom, information technology and bio-technology.
Sharon accepted Vajpayee's proposal for establishment of a Joint Committee on Agriculture, the MEA spokesman said.
The two sides agreed on further cooperation in space technology and intensify collaboration in science and technology fields and put in place a framework for cooperation in development application of space technology.
A joint statement would be issued at the end of Sharon's visit, the spokesman said.
On the economic front, it was pointed out that trade had risen substantially to US $1.3 billion and would grow by about 25 per cent again this year, he said.
Cementing their friendly ties, two countries inked six agreements for cooperation in combating illicit trafficking of drugs, environment, health, education and culture.
The agreements signed in the presence of two prime ministers included an accord on waiver of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic, service and official passports.
The spokesman said an India-Israeli Joint Working Group is to be constituted for implementing environment protection agreement.
In his hectic schedule, Sharon called on President A P J Abdul Kalam who emphasised the need for lasting global peace.
He also had a meeting with National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra.