EU, India agree to crank up anti-terror cooperation


BRUSSELS: The European Union and India agreed on Friday to intensify their cooperation against terrorism to deny safe havens to extremists in the wake of the Mumbai attacks and new threats against Europe.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the EU leadership issued a joint declaration in Brussels vowing to encourage “all” nations to dismantle “terror infrastructure on the territories under their control.” They did not name any country but the West has been on high alert over fears that Islamic extremists are plotting Mumbai-style strikes against Europe from hideouts in Pakistan’s lawless western region bordering Afghanistan.
Following a summit with Singh in Brussels, EU president Herman Van Rompuy invoked the deadly bombings against transport systems in Madrid in 2003 and London in 2005 to underscore the need for Europe to cooperate with India.
“The London, Madrid and Mumbai attacks show that terrorism knows no boundaries and that a common response is essential,” Van Rompuy told a news conference. On November 26, 2008, 10 gunmen launched coordinated attacks on luxury hotels, a railway station, cafe and Jewish cultural centre in Mumbai, starting a 60-hour siege that left 166 people dead.
The attack has been blamed on the Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
In their joint declaration India and the EU agreed to:
Step up the exchange of strategic information “so as to better disrupt and prevent terrorist activity.”
Continue efforts to prevent terrorists from accessing financial resources.
Work together within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to improve air passenger and cargo security.
Coordinate efforts against “terrorists and terrorist groups so as to deny them safe haven and freedom of travel in accordance with international law.”
“It is a joint strategy and a joint attitude and this declaration … is really the clear signal we give to the rest of the world that we will join efforts in the fight against terrorism,” Van Rompuy said.