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Germany, India Support War Against Terror - 2001-10-29


German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee have reconfirmed their support for international efforts to combat terrorism. The German leader is in India on the second leg of a four-nation tour that focuses on strengthening the international campaign against terrorism.

After meeting Indian leaders, the German Chancellor said in New Delhi that military action in Afghanistan is the "right step".

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said both leaders agreed on the need to take the war against terrorism to "its logical conclusion."

Both leaders also said they will back global efforts to avert a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, which they said is the fault of the country's Taliban rulers.

In New Delhi, the German leader also asked India and Pakistan to resolve their decades-old dispute over Kashmir through talks - an appeal made earlier in Islamabad.

Mr. Schroeder said he would like the process of dialogue between the two rivals to be resumed, and their differences settled through bilateral negotiations.

But New Delhi appeared to rule out the prospect of talks with Pakistan in the near future. In answer to a reporter's question, the Indian Prime Minister brushed aside the possibility of meeting the Pakistani leader on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, saying the two could meet in Islamabad or Delhi.

An Indian foreign ministry official said India will resume a dialogue after Pakistan halts what New Delhi calls "cross-border terrorism" in Kashmir.

The German Chancellor is the latest of a series of high-profile western visitors who have tried to defuse growing tensions between the South Asian rivals over Kashmir.

Mr. Schroeder, who is accompanied by a large business delegation, also met Indian business leaders. He said increased international trade will help in winning the war against terrorism, and stressed that worries about international stability must not be allowed to paralyze economies.

Germany wants to increase cooperation with India in high-technology areas, and on Tuesday the German Chancellor travels to the southern city of Bangalore, India's information technology hub. After concluding his visit, he goes onto China and Russia.

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