Mumbai, Jan 17 (IANS) As he addressed captains of industry at a hotel that was ravaged during the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recalled “three happy years” he had lived in the megapolis, adding he “feels keenly the pain and anger of the city”.
Addressing a function to distribute awards by the Economic Times at the Trident hotel, he said: “This function, originally scheduled for November had to be postponed because of the terrorist attack on Mumbai in that month. Although I visited the city along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, immediately after that event, I had no opportunity to speak in public on that occasion. I would, therefore, like to use this opportunity to say a few words on that painful subject.
“Although that horrific event is behind us, the scars it has left remain. I was a resident of Mumbai for three happy years and I feel keenly the pain and anger of the city. To the people of Mumbai, I can only say that we will spare no effort to ensure that their city does not suffer any such attack in the future,” he said as a galaxy of industrialists looked on.
“My heart goes out to the families of those who lost their lives and also those who suffered injuries. I particularly wish to salute the bravery and sacrifice of the men of the Mumbai police and the NSG who laid down their lives fighting against this attack.”
Ten terrorists, who India has maintained came from Karachi, struck at key locations in Mumbai including a busy railway station and the Taj and Trident hotels, on the night of Nov 26, leaving more than 170 people including 26 foreigners dead.
“Before I proceed further, I would request you to rise and observe one minute of silence as a mark of respect to the victims of the tragedy.”
Manmohan Singh said the choice of Mumbai was “not without deeper intent”.
“It was meant to be an attack on our very nationhood. Mumbai is the best-known symbol of free, pluralistic, dynamic and cosmopolitan India. That is precisely why the terrorists chose to attack it.”
He warned the attackers that “the civilised world is against them. They must know that this onslaught on the founding ideals of India and on its secular, pluralistic and vibrant democracy is an onslaught on all civilised nations. They must know that this is something that no country can or will tolerate.”