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PM's speech at all-party meet

December 01, 2008 21:31 IST

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Terror strikes at Mumbai's heart

Following is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] speech on the Mumbai terror attacks [Images] at the all-party meet in Delhi [Images] on Sunday:

"Esteemed Chairperson UPA, respected colleagues and friends. I thank you all for being here at such short notice.

The ordeal at Mumbai, which occupied the attention of the entire nation, has finally come to an end. All of us share the grief of those who have lost their loved ones in this dastardly and brutal attack and also the pain and anguish of those grievously wounded. We cannot lessen their grief. But we will do all we can to alleviate their suffering. I give you my solemn assurance that we will look after the needs of those who survive this horrible tragedy.

We salute the bravery of our security forces who fought the terrorists in exceptionally difficult circumstances. They tried their utmost to save innocent lives at great personal risk. Twenty officers and men made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives. The entire nation owes a debt of gratitude to these men that we can never repay.

We have had terrorist attacks before also. But this attack was different. It was an attack by highly trained and well-armed terrorists targeting our largest city. They came with the explicit aim of killing large numbers of innocent civilians, including foreign visitors. They sought to destroy some of the best known symbols of our commercial capital.

We share the hurt of the people and their sense of anger and outrage. Several measures are already in place to deal with the situation. But clearly much more needs to be done and we are determined to take all necessary measures to overhaul the system.

We are further strengthening maritime and air security for which measures have been initiated. This will involve the Navy, the Coast Guard and the coastal police, as well as the Air Force and the Civil Aviation Ministry.

The anti-terrorist forces of the country will be further strengthened and streamlined. The National Security Guard, which is the principal anti-terrorist force of the country, will be given additional facilities and the size of the force is being augmented. Steps have also been initiated to establish another four NSG hubs in different parts of the country.

Additionally, the special forces at the disposal of the Centre would be appropriately utilised in counter insurgency operations.

We have finalised a set of legal measures based on the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission, which includes the setting up of a Federal Investigating Agency.

In the face of this national threat and in the aftermath of this national tragedy, all of us from different political parties must rise above narrow political considerations and stand united. We should work together in the interest of the country at this critical juncture.

We should build a consensus on what needs to be done to strengthen the ability of our system to meet these threats. The terrorists and enemies of our nation must know that their actions unite rather than divide us.

I do hope that at the end of our discussions today we will be able to give our collective assurance to the nation that, across the political spectrum, we stand together at this hour. I look forward to hearing the views of each one of you."

The prime minister then requested his cabinet colleague P Chidambaram to open the discussions.

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