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Clinton in Mumbai
Published on 19 Jul. 2009 12:30 AM IST
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PRESSES PAKISTAN TO ROOT OUT TERROR OUTFITS US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Saturday expressed a desire to strengthen strategic ties with India as she began a five-day trip by pressing Pakistan to take action against terrorists who attacked Mumbai, including the luxury hotel where she is staying. Dressed in an elegant red business suit, Clinton captivated innumerable hearts as she spent a hectic day meeting corporate leaders, victims of the November 2008 terror attack, women activists, journalists besides teachers and students of a leading college. Clinton, who arrived overnight amid rains, declared that the US was “entering (an era of) a new and even more promising relations with India” and that her country wanted to “broaden and deepen our relationship.” She said she was optimistic about concluding a defence pact to enable Washington to monitor the end use of arms and sensitive technologies sold to India to ensure that they are not diverted to other countries. “We are working very hard to finalise a number of agreements. I am optimistic we will get such agreements resolved and announced,” she said, when asked about the status of the arms ‘end-user monitoring’ pact. The end-user verification agreement is likely to be signed between the two sides after Clinton meets External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna in New Delhi Monday. A technology safeguards agreement on space launches and another pact on deepening educational ties are also expected to be signed during Clinton’s visit. India is likely to announce two sites for US nuclear reactors. On her fourth visit to India, Clinton began the day by paying homage to the over 170 people killed and those wounded when terrorists from Pakistan attacked several landmarks in Mumbai last year. One of them was the Taj Palace and Tower Hotel where Clinton is now a guest. She met some of the survivors of the savagery at the Taj hotel and then described terrorism as “ruthless and nihilistic”. She was given a tour of the now renovated Taj hotel by Karimbir Kang, its general manager whose wife and two children were among those slain by the terrorists who went from room to room shooting and hurling grenades. She said she was deeply touched to meet the staff of the Taj and the nearby Oberoi-Trident Hotel who faced the brunt of the terrorists, nine of whom were killed by commandos after about 60 hours. One was captured. Responding to a question that Pakistan was not doing enough against terrorists pitted against India, Clinton underlined that Islamabad needed to “root out” such outfits. “We believe they have to be rooted out, they must be defeated, they must be dismantled. We say that clearly, we will continue to do so.” She said the US had no role to play in a resolution of the decades-old India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir and denied her country was forcing the two countries to go for negotiations. Clinton met select Indian business leaders on issues like energy security, agriculture, global financial crisis and climate change. She said she had “exciting and fruitful” discussions. What Clinton wrote in Taj hotel’s 26/11 tribute book Visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote a touching message in the tribute book for 26/11 terror attack victims at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel here Saturday morning. “Americans share solidarity with this city and nation,” she wrote. “Both our people have experienced the senseless and searing effects of violent extremism. And both can be grateful and proud of the heroism of brave men and women whose courage saved lives and prevented greater harm on 26/11 and 9/11. “Now it is up to all nations and people who seek peace and progress to work together. Let us rid the world of hatred and extremism that produces such nihilistic violence. Our future deserves no less. “With profound sympathy and resolve.” She signed her full name, Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the end of the tribute.

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