The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Indo-Russia meet focus on terror

New Delhi, Dec. 28: In the wake of the Grozny terrorist attack that killed many and injured several people, India and Russia have decided to hold a meeting early next month to discuss developments in Central Asia that are crucial for both.

Two powerful blasts ripped through the Chechen government compound in Grozny yesterday, killing at least 46 and injuring 76 people.

At the meeting, slated to be held on January 6, both countries will assess the security situation in Central Asia and neighbouring countries and draw up a joint strategy to deal with the emerging scenario.

“The attack is yet another reminder to the international community that it must step up efforts to eradicate terrorism wherever it exists,” the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement this evening. It made clear that “such acts of terrorism are completely unacceptable”.

“We strongly condemn the heinous terrorist attack yesterday on the main government complex in Grozny which has resulted in a large number of casualties,” said the statement.

“We express full support and solidarity with the Russian government in its efforts directed towards eradicating terrorism, protecting its territorial integrity and establishing constitutional order in Chechnya,” the foreign ministry statement added.

Although India has condemned terrorism wherever it has manifested, in the case of Russia in general and Grozny in particular, it has been a little more concerned.

What the leadership in Russia has been facing — a separatist uprising from the Chechens for the past several years now — is a situation similar to what the Indian leadership faces in Kashmir.

During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India last month, Delhi and Moscow signed a memorandum of understanding on counter-terrorism and set up a joint working group to deal with the situation.

The forthcoming meet on Central Asia is also related to terrorism and the security of the region is a subject of mutual interest for both countries.

I. Shuvalov, director-general of the Russian foreign ministry on Central Asia, will lead the Russian delegation, while the Indians would be represented by his counterpart, Rajiv Dogra.

Since their independence in the late 1980s, Central Asian countries have played an important role for Russia, both in respect of security and oil.

As many of the countries border Afghanistan — a country which was then in the midst of a severe ethnic clash — it became necessary for Moscow to keep a strict vigil on the region.

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