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Putin Discusses Terror War With Vajpayee - 2001-11-06

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee Tuesday to discuss the global war on terrorism and the political future of Afghanistan in a post-Taleban era.

Both Russia and India support the U.S.-led war against terrorism in Afghanistan.

But Russian President Putin cautioned, after the meeting, that there could be no double standards about who is considered a terrorist and who is not. Mr. Putin said double standards could split the international coalition against terrorism. He said there is no such thing as a good terrorist. Anyone, said Mr. Putin, who takes up arms to resolve political questions should be condemned.

Mr. Putin argues that rebels in the breakaway region of Chechnya are no different than terrorists who attacked the United States on September 11. India accuses neighboring Pakistan of supporting terrorism in the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Both leaders described Mr. Vajpayee's visit as part of the strategic partnership between the two countries. Russia and India have a strong relationship dating back to the Cold War, when India was one of the main purchasers of weapons and military hardware from the Soviet Union.

The Russian and Indian leaders also signed an agreement to build a nuclear power plant in India using a Russian design and mostly Russian equipment. The deal was originally planned 13 years ago, but fell apart after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Indian prime minister arrived in St. Petersburg on Sunday, at the start of his four-day visit. From Russia, he flies to the United States, where he will meet with President Bush and attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

From the United States, Mr. Vajpayee continues on to London to meet with Prime Minister Tony Blair.