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`Delhi Declaration' asks Pak. to end infiltration

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and his wife, Lyudmila, being welcomed by the President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday. — Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and his wife, Lyudmila, being welcomed by the President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday. — Photo: Shanker Chakravarty  

NEW DELHI Dec. 4. Without naming Pakistan, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, today called for strengthening the international non-proliferation regime to prevent weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists.

Displaying a rare, growing strategic concord in international affairs, Mr. Putin and the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, signed a "Delhi Declaration'' to enhance strategic cooperation and set up a joint working group on combating terrorism, and issued a joint declaration on strengthening economic, scientific and cultural cooperation. At a brief press interaction, Mr. Putin said Russia was willing to enhance its cooperation with India to increase the capacity in nuclear power generation beyond the Koodankulam project within the framework of international rules and regulations. There was no official word on the state of different defence deals under negotiation — it appeared that the two sides wanted to avoid any reference to the delicate talks on pricing by design.

While Mr. Putin called for a resolution of disputes between India and Pakistan by "peaceful means'' in his press interaction, a joint statement saw Moscow backing New Delhi's position on cross-border terrorism to the hilt. ``Both sides discussed in detail the current situation in South Asia. They stressed the importance of Islamabad implementing in full its obligations and promises to prevent the infiltration of terrorists across the Line of Control into the State of Jammu and Kashmir and at other points across the border, as well as to eliminate the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan and Pakistan-controlled territory as a prerequisite for the renewal of peaceful dialogue between the two countries to resolve all outstanding issues in a bilateral framework as envisaged in the Shimla Agreement of 1972 and the Lahore Declaration of 1998,'' the wordy formulation said. The two sides stressed that the "roots of terrorism'' lay in their common neighbourhood and posed a threat to their security interests. "Both sides would take preventive and deterrent measures to prevent and suppress terrorism. Both sides declared their determination to enhance collective and bilateral efforts to prevent and suppress terrorism.''

Mr. Vajpayee referred to the Moscow hostage-taking, the Bali attack, the Mombasa killings and the continuing terrorist incidents in India as manifestations of the common threat from international terrorism. In response to a question, he said that bilateral relations between India and Russia were "excellent" and suggested that they were worthy of emulation. Trade between the two countries was not satisfactory, he said, and hoped that the joint declaration would redress the issue.

The joint declaration on economic cooperation recognised that energy security had become an increasingly important component of bilateral ties. "The two sides indicated their common desire to intensify long-term cooperation in this sector, which could be extended to other areas, including the Caspian Sea, and to other aspects of the energy sector.''

Not for unilateral use of force in Iraq

On Iraq, too, Russia and India spoke in one voice — and strongly opposed the unilateral use of force or the threat of use of force in violation of the United Nations Charter. ``It was stressed that a comprehensive settlement of the situation around Iraq is possible only through political and diplomatic efforts in strict conformity with the rules of international law and only under the aegis of the United Nations. Both sides noted the importance of continuing intensive work with the Iraqi leadership in order to encourage it to cooperate in good faith with the United Nations.''

Russia also reaffirmed its support to India as a "deserving and strong candidate for the permanent membership of an expanded United Nations Security Council.'' For its part, India supported Russia's early accession to the World Trade Organisation.

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