November 6, 2001
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US, India to fight terrorism together: Bush

Tarun Basu in Washington

President George W Bush declared Friday that the US and India were determined to fight terrorism together and win the war come what may.

Bush, addressing a joint press conference in Washington with Vajpayee by his side after their first meeting, thanked India for its unreserved support to the US in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks.

"We will fight terrorism together," Bush said in his opening remarks, and went on to hint that New Delhi would be involved in the search for a new dispensation in a post-Taleban Afghanistan.

"I am extremely optimistic about our relationship, an important relationship for our country."

Asked by a journalist why the US urged India to be restrained in the face of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, while Washington went after terrorists in Afghanistan with a vengeance, Bush asserted that he had condemned the October 1 car bomb attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislature that killed 38 people.

"I think there is one universal law that terrorism is evil. When terrorism took place on October 1, I strongly condemned it, and I will continue to strongly condemn them. We must reject terrorism in all its forms."

Asked if "cross-border terrorism" figured in their talks, Vajpayee replied: "The question of cross-border terrorism has been engaging the attention of both countries."

Asserting that the US-led coalition against terror was working well, Bush made it clear that "the time for sympathy [for the September 11 victims] is over and it is time now for action. Now it is the time for coalition members to respond in their own way. And the Indian PM understands."

Bush warmly praised India, saying Indo-US ties were based on trust and mutual values. He described Vajpayee as the leader of "the largest democratic nation in the world."

"India has got a fantastic ability to grow. Because it exports its intelligence, its brain power, as our country has learned over the decade."

Vajpayee, reading out a prepared statement, said he was happy to meet Bush after 10 months of telephonic conversations and other forms of contact. "It is a pleasure to be here to continue the practice of a regular dialogue which the US and India have been having. We admire the decisive leadership of President Bush. We also applaud the resilience of the American people."

He said the September attacks had given an opportunity to the world to eliminate terrorism "in all its forms and manifestations, wherever it exists and under whatever name. I assured President Bush of India's complete support."

Vajpayee described his meeting with Bush as "an extremely rewarding experience" and said he had invited Bush to visit India.

Asked when he would fly to New Delhi, Bush responded: "As soon as possible, we are going to India."

Indo-Asian News Service

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

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