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British PM Defends Remarks on Pakistan and Terrorism


British Prime Minister David Cameron has wrapped up a three-day visit to India, calling for a stronger partnership with India. The visit was overshadowed by the British leader's comments about terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

Mr. Cameron ended his visit by defending his remarks that Britain wants a strong, stable Pakistan that does not "promote the export of terror" to India or anywhere else.

The comments were made at the start of his visit on Wednesday and angered the Pakistani government, which says the British leader ignored the role Islamabad has played in the war on terror.

At a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday, Prime Minister Cameron said he believed in "speaking clearly and plainly about these matters." He said no one was in doubt, least of all the Pakistan government, that there are terrorist organizations like the Laskhar-e-Taiba and others, that need to be eliminated. But he acknowledged that Pakistan was a victim of terrorism.

"It is not acceptable, as I have said, for there to be within Pakistan the existence of terror groups that cause terrorism both within Pakistan and also outside Pakistan - in Afghanistan, in India, elsewhere in our world," said Cameron. "What we will continue to do is work with the Pakistan government to do everything we can to encourage them to crack down and to take on these groups that have caused so much pain and so much suffering - both, as I say, both within Pakistan and outside Pakistan,"

Mr. Cameron's comment came in the wake of leaks of classified U.S. documents that allege Pakistan supports some insurgent groups in Afghanistan.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that he and his British counterpart agree that terrorism is the biggest threat in the region. He also expressed hope that Pakistan will clamp down on terror groups that target India.

"I sincerely hope that the government of Pakistan would honor its commitments given to us on many occasions - to myself, to my predecessors - that Pakistan territory will not be allowed to be use for acts of terrorism directed against India. We believe Pakistan should be as serious in paying attention to terror on the western borders of Pakistan as on the eastern border. And I sincerely hope the world community will use its good offices to promote this cause," said Singh.

After holding talks, the Indian and British leaders said they had agreed to take their partnership to a "higher level." The talks focused on enhancing security ties and increasing bilateral trade. The two countries have set a target of doubling trade within five years. The British prime minister, who dubbed his trip a "jobs mission," made a strong pitch for more investment flows between the two countries.

Britain says it hopes that intensifying business ties with India's emerging economy will help it recover from the global economic downturn.

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