‘Osama killing underlines concern about Pak’

India called al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden`s killing a "milestone".

New Delhi: India on Monday called al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden`s killing a "milestone", with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Home Minister P Chidambaram saying it underlined New Delhi`s concern about Pakistan being a sanctuary for terrorists.

In a statement, Krishna said the operation to kill the world`s most wanted terrorist in Pakistan`s Abbotabad "brings to closure an almost decade-long search for the head of the al Qaeda".

"It is a historic development and victorious milestone in the global war against the forces of terrorism," said the minister, noting that thousands of innocent lives had been lost to terrorism over the years.

"The world must not let down its united effort to overcome terrorism and eliminate the safe havens and sanctuaries that have been provided to terrorists in our own neighbourhood. The struggle must continue unabated," said Krishna.

He was alluding to the presence of several terror groups in Pakistan, like the Lashkar-e-Toiba, which masterminded the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

In a similar statement, Home Minister Chidambaram said the US government had informed India that "bin Laden had been killed by security forces somewhere `deep inside Pakistan`."

"This fact underlines our concern that terrorists belonging to different organisations find sanctuary in Pakistan," he said.

"We take note with grave concern that part of the (US) statement in which President (Barack) Obama said the firefight in which Osama bin Laden was killed took place in Abbotabad `deep inside Pakistan`."

In that context, Chidambaram raised the subject of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack plotters still being in Pakistan.

"We believe that the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack, including the controllers and handlers of the terrorists who actually carried out the attack, continue to be sheltered in Pakistan," he stated.

The minister said India called "upon the government of Pakistan to arrest the persons whose names have been handed over to the interior minister of Pakistan as well as provide voice samples of certain persons who are suspected to be among the controllers and handlers of the terrorists".

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan showed that "Pakistan gives shelter to terrorists".

"He was killed in Pakistan, almost in the backyard of its capital Islamabad, which is a final confirmation of the fact that Pakistan remains the epicentre of terrorism," said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.

"Terrorists and terrorism are encouraged and given shelter (by Pakistan)," he added.