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Obama calls PM, condoles Mumbai attacks

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | November 29, 2008 06:47 IST
Last Updated: November 29, 2008 13:31 IST

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Asserting that terrorism cannot defeat "India's great democracy", United States President-elect Barack Obama [Images] on Saturday spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] over the Mumbai attacks amid his advocacy for full US support to New Delhi [Images] in combating the scourge.

Obama called up Singh in the morning in connection with the Mumbai terror strikes and "expressed his deepest condolences", the Prime Minister's Office said in New Delhi.

Singh apprised him about the developments in Mumbai, where the operation to flush out terrorists ended on Saturday morning after 60 hours of gun-fight.

Prior to his telephone call to the prime minister, Obama, who will occupy the White House in January, said in a statement that the terrorists who targeted innocent civilians could not defeat "India's great democracy" nor "shake the will of a global coalition to defeat them".

Obama, who has been receiving regular updates about the situation in Mumbai from  Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [Images],  said, "Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the American citizens who lost their lives in the outrageous terrorist attacks in Mumbai."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and with all those who have been touched by this terrible tragedy," he said.
Obama asserted that "these terrorists who targeted innocent civilians will not defeat India's great democracy nor shake the will of a global coalition to defeat them."
"The United States must stand with India and all nations and people who are committed to destroying terrorist networks, and defeating their hate-filled ideology," he added.
Obama pledged to "closely monitor the situation on the ground in Mumbai". He also expressed his gratitude for the cooperation of the Bush administration in keeping him and his staff members updated about the terror attack.
He reiterated, 'We fully support the Bush administration's efforts to protect American citizens and assist the government of India during this tragic time."
Obama once again pointed out that 'there is one president at a time," which experts believe indicates the fact that though he stood solidly with India and its people at this time, the president-elect was not in a position to offer any US assistance or articulate any policy.
It was also probably the reason why he had not called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following the terrorist attacks, unlike President George W Bush [Images], who had already done so to offer US support and assistance to India.

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