The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Anti-terror tips swap with Russia

New Delhi, Sept. 28: A team of Indian experts is in Moscow to learn how the Russians quelled the siege of the Bolshoi Theatre by Chechen terrorists earlier this year. In their footsteps, a Russian team will arrive in Delhi to find out how the Indian forces handled the raid on Parliament two years ago.

These exchanges are part of a programme the two sides have agreed on for better coordination to deal with the threat of terrorism. On their return, the Indian experts will impart their experience and the lessons learnt from the Russians to commandos and other security personnel engaged in counter-terrorism.

“It is likely to be an interesting and educative experience for our experts as it will teach us not only how the Russians dealt with the siege of the Bolshoi Theatre, but also tell us about their mistakes which should be avoided in future,” a foreign ministry official said.

India is also seeking special and sophisticated equipment from the Russians to fight terrorists more effectively.

These initiatives and plans will come up when the Joint Working Group on counter-terrorism meets in Moscow on September 29 for two days. But the main aim of the interaction is to gather more inputs for a meeting between the two sides on “global challenges”.

The first meeting of the “global challenges” group — which was expanded from the Joint Working Group on Afghanistan — will be held in Delhi next month between foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal and Russian first deputy foreign minister Y. Trubnikov.

Officials in South Block pointed out that the scope of the Afghanistan group was expanded to accommodate developments in southeast Asia as well as Russia’s interaction with the US and other major western countries like Britain, France and Germany.

One of the thrusts of the newly-formed group will be on terrorist camps and financing to outlawed groups. While closer interaction on the issue will help both sides coordinate their positions to deal effectively with the menace of terrorism, the main aim seems more political.

Russia is in a committee that will review the progress made by each country on the UN Security Council resolu- tion 1373 passed in the wake of 9/11. Under the resolution, the member countries are supposed to submit reports on steps taken to deal with terrorists within their territories.

India wants to take this opportunity to put pressure on Pakistan by giving details about continuing terrorist camps on Pakistani soil and Islamabad’s support and financing for the outlawed groups over the past two years.

Though the US and the international community have not done much yet to force Pakistan to dismantle the te- rror apparatus aimed at India, South Block officials feel Russia, as part of the review panel, can play a major role in expo-sing the double-speak of the Pervez Musharraf regime on terrorists.

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