Blair ends diplomatic tour in New Dehli

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The Independent Online

Tony Blair today welcomed India's support for the growing international coalition against terrorism - but received a warning that the events of 11 September should not be seen in isolation.

The Prime Minister was speaking after brief talks in New Delhi with his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee at his Racecourse Road official residence.

As Mr Blair completed the final lap of his latest diplomatic mission since the events of September 11, he was reminded by Mr Vajpayee of India's "virtually lone struggle against terrorism" over the last 20 years.

The British Prime Minister welcomed India's unspecified support for the coalition building against Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime and spoke again of the possible shape of a future broad based Kabul government.

Mr Blair, speaking to reporters alongside Mr Vajpayee, said: "I would like to thank your government for the very strong stand you have taken from the outset in the growing and strengthening coalition against terrorism in all its forms."

Mr Blair spoke of the importance of Afghanistan having, "a stable government that represents a broad base of all ethnic groupings in that country. I think we can see very clearly that it's essential that we take action to bring to account those who perpetrated the events of September 11 and that we do so in a way that achieves two very clear objectives.

"Firstly that they are brought to justice and secondly that we do it in a way that's proportionate and targeted, and makes full allowance for the humanitarian consequences of the situation in Afghanistan.

"That humanitarian situation did not begin after the 11th of September.The people of Afghanistan are themselves victims of the Taliban," he said