Russia on Monday backed India’s demand that Pakistan punish the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks.

A joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Dmitry Medvedev said, “Russia expresses solidarity and support for India’s demand for bringing to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks.”

At a joint press conference with Mr. Medvedev, Mr. Singh said “existing instrumentalities” should be invoked to put pressure on countries which continue to encourage terrorist activities, a veiled reference to the need for focussed strategies to combat terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

Mr. Singh’s assessment on ways to deal with terrorism was shared by Mr. Medvedev who said the two countries are suffering from terror attacks and there should be intensified global cooperation to evolve counter-terrorism strategies.

“We should use every means to have pinpointed action against terrorism,” Mr. Medvedev said, adding that that the two countries should consolidate their counter-terrorism strategies which could be one of the “main” areas of bilateral cooperation.

Warning that the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan was not satisfying, the Russian President said utmost care should be taken that nuclear assets in Pakistan do not fall into the hand of terrorists and extremists.

Mr. Medvedev said the safety of nuclear weapons was a “sensitive issue.”

“There is a need to ensure that nuclear assets are in safe hands and do not fall into the hands of extremists,” the President said in an apparent reference to the situation in Pakistan in the backdrop of reports of a threat of extremist and terror elements taking control of atomic assets in that country.

During discussions on regional issues at the one-on-one meeting and at the delegation level talks, Mr. Singh said India and Russia have agreed to enhance their cooperation to meet the grave challenges of terrorism and religious extremism that emanate from “our region and threaten both our societies.”

“Both India and Russia have an interest in a stable, prosperous and moderate Afghanistan, and we have agreed to regularly consult each other on the important issue,” he said.

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