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Religious terrorism has emerged as main danger in new century: PM

V S Chandrasekar in St Petersburg

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Monday said that religious terrorism has emerged as the 'new menace' and the 'main danger' to peace, stability and civilised world order in the new century and called for the fight against it on the basis of 'widest possible' international cooperation.

On the second day of his three-nation tour to focus on the global campaign against the scourge, he told a group of Russian intellectuals and ideologists in St Petersburg saying that the horrendous September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States have highlighted the evil face of this new menace to all peace loving and right thinking people around the world.

"When terrorism feeds on religious extremism, its destructive power increases manifold," he said.

While Russia has faced the threat in the Caucus, India has been facing it in Jammu and Kashmir and some other parts for the past decade or more, Vajpayee said.

Vajpayee said intellectuals and artists had an important responsibility in the global fight against terrorism and religious extremism.

"Its a historical truth that the world is ruled by ideas. And ideas dwell in the minds of intellectuals, teachers and scholars like you," he said.

Vajpayee said he was confident that the best of minds of India and Russia would continue to interact with, and influence each other to promote peace, brotherhood and enlightenment in the new century just as they did in the past

Recalling the ancient cultural ties between India and Russia, particularly St Petersburg, formerly called Leningrad, the prime minister said it would be useful to establish a 'Forum of Indologists' to further strengthen the relationship.

"I am confident that the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences will be a dynamic and worthy partner from Russia," Vajpayee said.

From the Indian side, the Indian Council for Historical Research would provide all necessary assistance, he added.

Vajpayee recalled the 'not widely' known visit of Russian traveller Afanasy Nitekin to India well before Portuguese voyager Vasco da Gama came across Indian shores.

Nitekin was the first European to set foot on Indian soil and came through the land and sea route, which later has been recognised by India, Russia and Iran as the north-south corridor, of tremendous significance not only for trade but as a strategic axis for Eurasia, Vajpayee pointed out.

"Our three countries signed an agreement in September to develop this corridor," he said.

A special book of the prime minister's speeches and statements 'India on the path to the future', which was compiled and translated by the Institute of Oriental studies, was released at the meeting.

Vajpayee said while consolidating creative work of the past, there was need to impart new dimensions to Indo-Russian cooperation in the fields of both scholarship and enterprise.

In recent years, he said, Ayurveda, yoga and other traditional systems of medicine have emerged as an attractive area of mutual collaboration between the two countries.

"There is an immense scope for research, development and commercialisation in this area. I understand that there is a growing interest in Russia to participate in collaborative ventures," he said assuring the Russians of all help and assistance from his government in this regard.

Vajpayee said closer and deeper cooperation between scholars of India and Russia would no doubt bring many benefits to the two countries, but they would also immensely benefit Asia, especially Central Asia.

By continuing the tradition of cooperation of scholars from this region with India, Vajpayee said "You will be making an invaluable contribution to the success of the north-south corridor," which he talked about earlier.

Earlier, the prime minister visited the famous state Russian museum where he inaugurated the exhibition of the works of Prince Alexi Solitkov, who travelled to India one and half century ago.

"I would very much like this exhibition to travel to India soon," he said.

PTI

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
The Attack on US Cities: The Complete Coverage

The Terrorism Weblog: Latest Stories from Around the World

External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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