Obama Praises India's Resolve Against Terrorism
By Stephen Kaufman
Washington - President Obama paid tribute to terror victims and the resilience of Indian society in the face of security threats, and said the United States and India are cooperating more closely than ever against terrorism.
The president spoke November 6 at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel buildings, which were among the sites in Mumbai that were targeted by terrorists on November 26, 2008, in a four-day attack that killed more than 165 people.
"The resolve and the resilience of the Indian people during those attacks stood in stark contrast to the savagery of the terrorists," Obama said. "The murderers came to kill innocent civilians that day. But those of you here risked everything to save human lives."
The terrorists failed in their attempt to "pit believers of different faiths against one another," and demoralize India, he said.
Since the attacks, the governments of India and the United States have worked together more closely to keep their citizens safe by "sharing intelligence, preventing more attacks, and demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice," Obama said.
Speaking in front of the memorial in front of the Taj Mahal Palace, the president said those who target the innocent "offer nothing but death and destruction," in contrast to India, the United States and other targeted countries who are seeking to build societies of inclusion and offer dignity and opportunity to their citizens,
"That is the spirit of the gateway behind us, which in its architecture reflects all the beauty and strength of different faiths and traditions, and which has welcomed people to this city for a century," Obama said.
On November 4, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions against the Pakistan-based terrorist groups Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LET) and Jaish-e Mohammed. LET carried out the November 2008 attacks, as well as a deadly train bombing in Mumbai in 2006.
Following his remarks, the president visited the Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum, a former home of Indian independence and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi. The president has expressed his admiration of Gandhi's message of nonviolence and his ability to effect change through the power of his ethics.
At the museum, Obama also saw the guest book signed by American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his 1959 visit. In a separate book, the president wrote: "I am filled with hope and inspiration as I have the privilege to visit this testament to Gandhi. He is a hero not just to India, but to the world."
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://www.america.gov)