India was hoping for “26/11 closure” from Pakistan just as the killing of Osama bin Laden brought to a close America’s decade-long hunt for the Al Qaeda chieftain who masterminded the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre’s twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged Pakistan to work comprehensively to end the activities of all terror groups operating on its soil, while home minister P. Chidambaram reiterated India’s demand that Pakistan arrest certain individuals and share voice samples of persons suspected of involvement in the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai.
Mr Chidambaram noted that bin Laden’s killing “deep inside Pakistan” underlined India’s apprehension that terrorists belonging to different organisations find sanctuary in that country.
The Centre has directed all states to tighten security, particularly at places where there are American or Jewish installations. In an advisory, the home ministry asked the authorities in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyder-abad and Kolkata to beef up security around US consulates there and foil any attempt to disturb the peace.
The PM said: “I welcome as a significant step forward, and hope it will deal a decisive blow to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The international community and Pakistan in particular must work comprehensively to end the activities of all such groups who threaten civilised behaviour and kill innocent men, women and children.”
In his statement, the home minister noted that the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, including the controllers and handlers of terrorists, continue to be sheltered in Pakistan. “We once again call upon the Pakistan government … to arrest the persons whose names have been handed over to the (Pakistan) interior minister as well as provide voice samples of certain persons suspected to be among the controllers and handlers of the terrorists,” Mr Chidambaram said.
For his part, external affairs minister S.M. Krishna described Bin Laden’s death as “a historic development and victorious milestone in the global war against the forces of terrorism”. He said: “Over the years, thousands of innocent lives of men, women and children have been tragically lost at the hands of terrorist groups. The world must not let down its united effort to overcome terrorism and eliminate the safe havens and sanctuaries that have been provided to terrorists in our own neighbourhood. The struggle must continue unabated.”
The Opposition BJP said Osama’s killing inside Pakistani territory confirmed that Pakistan remained the “epicentre of global terror”. The party demanded that the UPA government ensure that those responsible for the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai are handed over to it.
“We demand that all terrorists responsible for attacks from across the border be handed over to India. It is a litmus test for Pakistan. The Government of India must acknowledge this fact in all future talks with Pakistan,” said BJP spokesman Ravishankar Prasad.
“He (Osama) was killed in Pakistan, almost in the backyard of its capital Islamabad. This is the final confirmation of the hard fact that Pakistan remains the epicentre of global terror, where terrorism and terrorists are allowed to be encouraged and given shelter,” Mr Prasad added.
Security was strengthened around the US embassy and nearby areas in New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri diplomatic enclave. All states were asked to step up security at any “Chabad” houses located there as these were hubs used by Jewish travellers. The states were also asked to keep a strict vigil at all places frequented by tourists and other foreigners.
The United States has issued a global travel alert for its citizens, especially those living in Pakistan, soon after US President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed. Asian Age