No cause can justify dreadful act of violence against innocent people, say India, Belgium

Brussels (Belgium): Expressing deep shock and anguish at the dastardly terrorist attacks here last week and condemning them in the strongest possible terms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel on Wednesday reaffirmed their belief that no issue or cause can justify dreadful and indiscriminate acts of violence against innocent people.

In a joint statement released after bilateral talks, the two Prime Ministers agreed the growing menace of terrorism knows no boundaries and its root causes and manifestations must be tackled through united efforts by the international community.

Underlining that terror cannot defeat freedom and liberty, the Prime Ministers reiterated, “These fundamental values have always strengthened our shared resolve to fight against such inhuman acts of terror.”

On behalf of India, a nation confronted with terrorism for decades, Prime Minister Modi expressed solidarity with Belgium in this tragic hour and offered heartfelt condolences for the loss of several lives and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured.

Earlier, during a meeting with prominent Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) here, the Prime Minister said it was probably the biggest attack that Belgium had faced since the Second World War.

The two Prime Ministers underlined the excellent relations between Belgium and India and their shared commonalities as two mature democracies committed to the rule of law, federalism and pluralism.

Noting that diplomatic relations between India and Belgium were instituted in 1947, they welcomed the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Belgium in 2017 as an occasion to commemorate and commit to further strengthening of bilateral relations.

They looked forward to a state visit to India by King Philippe of Belgium in 2017 as a key event in the commemoration.

Lauding the vital role played by, and the supreme sacrifice made by more than 9,000 Indian troops in Flanders fields, Belgium, during the First World War, the two Prime Ministers recalled India’s participation in the inaugural commemorative events held at Nieuwpoort and Ypres in Belgium in October 2014, and welcomed the ongoing commemorative celebrations underway till 2018.

Acknowledging the growing convergence of views on regional and international issues and expressing their commitment to work together in close partnership on a range of issues of mutual interest, the Prime Ministers welcomed the inception of an institutionalised political dialogue between India and Belgium.

Prime Minister Michel reiterated Belgium’s support for India to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

Underlining their shared interest in strengthening global non-proliferation objectives, Belgium welcomes India’s aspiration to become a member of the four multilateral export control regimes, namely, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement. India and Belgium agreed to work together for India to become a member of these regimes.

Taking note of the federal structure in both countries, the two leaders encouraged mutually beneficial partnerships and cooperation, including at the level of the States and the Union Territories of India, the Regions and Communities of Belgium.

Prime Minister Modi is in the Belgian Capital for the first leg of his three-nation four-day tour, which will take him to the US and Saudi Arabia. (ANI)