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Aug 02, 2008 at 04:24pm IST

At SAARC, PM sounds war cry against terror

New Delhi: Terror remained the top focus on the opening day of the 15th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday described terrorism as the biggest threat to the stability of South Asian countries.

The recent attacks in Kabul, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, he said, were gruesome reminders of the threat posed by terrorism and the world could not afford to lose the battle against terror.

“Terrorism continues to rear its ugly head in our midst,” he said in his speech. “It remains the single biggest threat to our stability. We cannot afford to lose the battle against the ideology of hatred and against all those who seek to destroy our social and societal (values),” he was quoted as saying by the agencies.

WORLDLY CONCERNS: PM Manmohan Singh and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in SAARC's inaugural session.

Warning that terrorism was as the "single biggest threat" to development, Manmohan Singh asked SAARC countries to jointly act and battle the scourge with determination.

“Terrorists know no borders,” the prime minister said, adding that the July 7 suicide bombing at the Indian embassy in Kabul and the later serial bombings in Bangalore and Ahmedabad cities were “gruesome reminders of the barbarity” terrorism was capable of unleashing.

At least 50 people were killed in the Kabul attack, for which India blamed the Pakistani intelligence. The serial bombings in Bangalore and Ahmedabad killed another 50 people.

He said countries needed to act with determination to “fight this curse. We must defend the values of pluralism, peaceful co-existence and the rule of law”.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, in his address, used the opportunity to condemn the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. He said that the success of the India Pakistan peace process is crucial for entire South Asian region.

“We condemn the attack on Indian embassy in Kabul. Pakistan and India are engaged in a peace process. Since the induction of elected govt. in Pakistan . The peace process has registered noteworthy progress. Success of the process augur well for the region and SAARC,” Gilani said.