The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Club in anti-terror club

Washington, May 9: Brajesh Mishra, the national security adviser and principal secretary to the Prime Minister, now on a visit to the US, is attempting to create a caucus within the global coalition against terrorism.

Last night, he told a galaxy of world leaders that a starting point in this effort would be an agreed definition of terrorism, which “still eludes the international community”.

Mishra told the 97th annual dinner of the American Jewish Committee, one of the most influential organisations in the US, that “a core, consisting of democratic societies, has to gradually emerge from within our existing coalition, which can take on international terrorism in a holistic and focused manner”.

If this comes about, it will have the effect of isolating Pakistan, which has used its professed support to America in the war against al Qaida and the Taliban to insinuate itself into a position of a favoured ally of the US since September 11, 2001.

Mishra’s objective, which has all the trappings of a major new diplomatic initiative by New Delhi, is by no means unrealistic because of the circumstances in which he launched it last night.

Present at the dinner as Mishra spoke was Spain’s Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, the foreign leader who has most influence on President George W. Bush after Britain’s Tony Blair because of Spain’s unwavering support for the White House on Iraq.

Another speaker last night was Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, who is, in practice, principal secretary to Bush.

But most important of all was the presence of the American Jewish Committee, which is part of the colossal Jewish lobbying effort in this country and can push through political objectives against major odds.

Leaders of the American Jewish Committee revealed, while introducing Mishra, that they were in New Delhi recently for detailed discussions with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and the national security adviser.

Mishra, who was in Afghanistan only a few days ago, told his audience that “we see worrying signs of a regrouping of Taliban elements”.

He warned that “this is only a segment of the international terrorist network. It will, therefore, be a long haul and its success would require a genuine commitment to its objectives by every member of the international coalition”.

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