Manmohan, Brown to discuss terrorism, Pakistan Sunday


New Delhi : With India-Pakistan ties taking a nosedive in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrived here Saturday night from Kabul on an unscheduled visit to offer India support in the battle against terrorism and to ease shimmering tension in the region.

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Brown will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday morning on issues relating to counter-terrorism and what the two countries can do together to combat this trans-national menance, reliable sources said.

During talks between the two leaders, India is likely to share evidence about the complicity of Pakistan-based elements in the Nov 26 terror attacks, the sources added.

Manmohan Singh is expected to seek Brown’s support in sustaining international pressure on Pakistan to widen the crackdown on anti-India terror outfits in that country that has also a bearing on the battle against a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, the sources said.

Brown is likley to travel to Islamabad to meet President Asif Ali Zardari Sunday afternoon, they said.

Brown’s visit was not planned, but he decided to come in view of the rising tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the terror strikes.

He is expected to discuss here his perception of the situation in Afghanistan and his desire to send more troops to restore peace and stabiltiy in that country.

Britain would continue to increase troops in Afghanistan to help the government establish peace and security, Brown said in Kabul after holding talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Brown will be the second head of state to visit India after the Nov 26 Mumbai terror strikes that killed at least 17o people, including 26 foreign nationals. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev came on a planned state visit to India last week.

Brown was among the first few leaders to talk to Manmohan Singh after the Mumbai attacks and express his outrage and the need for a “vigorous response” to the incident.

The two countries will also discuss steps to further strengthen their counter-terrorism cooperation.

Britain has already sent a special team of police to assist the Indian authorities in investigating the terror attacks.