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Home > News > PTI

Centre ready to help WB government on providing security to Taslima

December 27, 2007 16:36 IST

The Centre is ready to provide security assistance to the West Bengal government for the protection of Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen [Images], who has expressed her desire to return to Kolkata, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Bangalore on Thursday.

Mukherjee said Taslima is currently being provided security by the Union government as she is put up in New Delhi, where the powers of law and order vest with the Centre.

"As far as states are concerned, it's the primary responsibility of the states to provide security. But if the state government wants any assistance from the Centre in that respect, we will be glad to provide that," he said.

Mukherjee was responding to questions from the media about the remarks made by veteran Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Jyoti Basu stating that Taslima can return to Kolkata if she chooses to, but the Centre would have to ensure her security.

Mukherjee said the recent joint military exercise with China was held to demonstrate that New Delhi and Beijing [Images] are 'working together'.  "And it's tactics", he remarked, without elaborating.

"It's a policy of the Government of India to interact and undertake joint exercises with various countries," Mukherjee said, noting that New Delhi has held joint military exercises with the United States, the United Kingdom, France [Images], Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and China.

"This is part of our overall security strategy", the minister said.

On the status of the India-United States civil nuclear deal, Mukherjee said discussions are on with the International Atomic Energy Agency on finalising India-specific safeguards. Once the text of this arrangement is finalised, it would be discussed with Left leaders, he added.

Mukherjee earlier laid the foundation stone at a college in Bangalore and also addressed the annual conference of the Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Sammelan.

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