Nilofar Suhrawardy, Arab News
Wednesday 19 July 2006
Last Update 19 July 2006 12:00 am
NEW DELHI, 19 July 2006 — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned here from St. Petersburg and termed his visit to the G-8 summit as “highly successful” after securing the world leaders’ united stand on the issue of terrorism.
The strong and united stand adopted against terrorism at the G-8 summit would reinforce international commitment to eliminate this threat to civilized global order, Manmohan said. “For India this is particularly relevant, as we have once again become the targets of terrorist violence in Bombay and in Srinagar,” he said.
At the summit, the world leaders said: “We express our readiness to undertake all necessary measures to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers, sponsors of these and other terrorist acts and those who incited the perpetrators to commit them.” Indian officials have viewed this statement as a strong endorsement of India’s stand regarding Pakistan-backed cross-border terrorism. This is a “major political gain” for India, according to Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran.
While India’s stand regarding more favorable terms of trade for developing countries found a hearing at the meeting of the top world leaders, the summit’s stand on nuclear energy development was more conditional.
The G-8 leaders did not display any change in their stand on India’s nuclear status. Notwithstanding the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, the major powers are keen on India moving into the non-proliferation regime. The G-8 statement says: “We note the commitment India has made and encourage India to take further steps toward integration into the mainstream of strengthening the non-proliferation regime, so as to facilitate a more forthcoming approach toward nuclear cooperation, to address its energy requirements in a manner that enhances and reinforces the global non-proliferation regime.” During his meeting with Manmohan, President George W. Bush expressed optimism about the Indo-US nuclear deal going through the US Congress within a few weeks. Voicing concern on the proposed American legislation granting waivers for nuclear commerce, Manmohan sought permanent “constructive solutions.” On this, he told Bush: “There are some concerns which worry us and our Parliament. We are a democracy and we are accountable to Parliament which zealously keeps a watch on what we do and what we do not do.”
While in St Petersburg, the Indian premier also had separate meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Japanese Prime Miniser Junichiro Koizumi. He also joined the first ever-trilateral meeting with Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao. On this, Manmohan said: “India, Russia and China need greater coordination and common understanding in meeting challenges. The most important is the fight against terrorism and religious extremism, and drug trafficking and trans-border crimes, which also have linkages to the problem of terrorism.” During the meeting of five outreach countries including India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico, global challenges, including terrorism, were focused on.
Describing globalization as an irreversible process, Manmohan emphasized that mechanisms of managing it left a great deal to be desired. Regarding energy security, he emphasized that this could not be built on perpetuation of poverty. An effective strategy for diversification of energy supplies was needed, he said.
On his talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Manmohan said that he was satisfied with the development of bilateral dialogue. India is keen to enhance trade and economic cooperation with Kazakhstan, Manmohan emphasized.