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America & Britain offer support

New Delhi, Aug. 25: The US and Britain strongly condemned the twin blasts in Mumbai and offered support for a more determined fight against the “scourge of terrorism”.

Secretary of state Colin Powell called up his Indian counterpart, foreign minister Yashwant Sinha, in the evening and said the incidents again showed that the scourge of terrorism needed to be fought with more determination by the US, India and all civilized members of the international community. He spoke for 10 minutes.

British foreign secretary Jack Straw, who spoke to Sinha earlier, expressed similar sentiments and offered London’s help in India’s fight against terrorists, including those behind today’s blasts.

“This emphasises yet again the importance of the international community taking firm action to deal with the poison of international terrorism,” Straw said before offering his condolences.

Though India hasn’t so far blamed Pakistan for the blasts, the foreign ministry took the opportunity to ask Islamabad to give up cross-border terrorism. It reminded that the international community was looking for “action” from the Pervez Musharraf regime on this score.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said: “The international community is looking for action by Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism permanently and dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil.

“If Pakistan wants to present itself as a responsible country, this is the most responsible step they can take, in line with international expectations.”

He was commenting on Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, Munir Akram, making sharp remarks against India. Akram, in a recent letter to the UN secretary-general and the Security Council president, said “India’s demand that Pakistan make unilateral concessions to its position is designed to frustrate not facilitate a dialogue”.

“This is an annual ritual by Pakistan, well-rehearsed, but empty,” Sarna said, adding that the doors for a dialogue are open. “All Pakistan needs to do is to abjure recourse to terrorism as an instrument of policy.”

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