British PM Brown, Singh meet to discuss terrorism

The two leaders have breakfast at Singh's residence as India tries to deconstruct deadly Mumbai attacks that killed 164 people.

Brown Singh 248 88 (photo credit: AP)
Brown Singh 248 88
(photo credit: AP)
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Sunday with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, visiting India to discuss fighting terrorism and calming tensions with neighboring Pakistan. The two leaders had breakfast at Singh's residence as India tried to deconstruct the deadly Mumbai attacks that killed 164 people and has come under pressure to share intelligence information with its rival Pakistan. The two leaders did not address the media after the meeting and officials on both sides did not immediately have details on the talks. Brown arrived in India following a surprise visit to Afghanistan where he met with British soldiers and hinted Britain would provide more troops. Shortly after the breakfast meeting, Brown was to leave for Pakistan, where he was expected to meet Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, aides said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the trip had not been formally announced. Britain has colonial links with both India and Pakistan. India has blamed the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba Islamic group for the attacks and called on Pakistan to crack down on militants operating out of its territory. According to India, the 10 gunmen were from Pakistan, as were the handlers, masterminds, weapons, training camps and financing. Pakistan has carried out raids on a charity believed to be linked to Lashkar, but called on India to provide further evidence. India finds itself in the awkward position of having to investigate terrorist attacks hand-in-hand with its longtime nemesis. The two countries have fought three wars against each other since independence. Despite a peace process that began in 2004, tensions remain high. Britain's shared history with the subcontinent has been bolstered by recent terror activity. Britons with family ties to Pakistan, India and Kashmir have been involved in a host of attempted terrorist attacks in Britain since 2001. Three of four British-born men who carried out the 2005 suicide bombings that killed 52 commuters had family ties to Pakistan. Indian-born Dhiren Barot was jailed in Britain in 2006 over plots to bomb the New York Stock Exchange, other U.S. financial targets and landmark London hotels. Barot, who was raised in the U.K. and regarded by British intelligence as a key al-Qaida figure, traveled to Kashmir in 1995 to fight against Indian forces. The ongoing dispute over Kashmir has emerged as a recurrent theme in the radicalization of young British Muslims, commonly cited as a justification for their attacks. Britain is home to some 2 million Muslims but has a large Kashmiri population, many of whom identify themselves as Pakistanis. Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, where many people favor independence from India or a merger with Pakistan. The region is divided between the two countries and both claim it in its entirety. Militant separatist groups have been fighting since 1989 to end Indian rule. The uprising and a subsequent Indian crackdown have killed about 68,000 people, most of them civilians. Brown, visiting troops in volatile Helmand province, said Europe's streets were safer because of the fight in Afghanistan. Brown is leading a review of the UK's strategy in Afghanistan and a troop announcement is expected in Parliament this week. American leaders say thousands of incoming U.S. troops will be sent to reinforce British forces in the restive south. Britain has some 8,200 troops in Afghanistan. More than 130 British soldiers have died there since 2001.