PM Modi, Ardern condemn Pulwama, Christchurch attacks as India, NZ join hands to fight terrorism

New York: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern strongly condemned the Pulwama and the Christchurch terror attacks as they met here and extended support to each other to fight terrorism.

Modi and Ardern met on the sidelines of the UNGA summit and reviewed the bilateral relations and discussed steps to intensify political, economic, defence, security and people to people relations, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

They also discussed the global and regional issues of mutual interest, including the issue of international terrorism and appreciated the convergence of views between the two countries on this issue.

“Both countries have strongly condemned and extended support to each other following the Pulwama and Christchurch terror attacks,” the statement said.

In February, tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26.

A month later in March, at least 47 people, including five Indians, were killed when a Australia-born white supremacist opened fire on worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch town, in one of the worst attack on Muslims in a western country.

The 28-year-old gunman had published a racist manifesto on Twitter before livestreaming his rampage.

India had also supported the joint New Zealand-French initiative on Christchurch Call of Action, which aims at eliminating terrorists and violent extremist content online, the statement said.

During the meeting, Ardern noted that the Indian diaspora and students in New Zealand are important bridges between the two nations and contributing to bonds of friendship.

She also informed Modi about New Zealand’s new strategic paper ‘India 2022-Investing in the relationship’, which is a continuation of the NZ Inc India Strategy 2011.

Modi and Ardene recalled their earlier meeting in November 2017 in Manila and noted that following the visit of former New Zealand prime minister John Key to India in October 2016, new institutional mechanisms have been instituted, which has substantially enhanced the bilateral relationship, the statement said.

Prime Minister Modi also thanked his New Zealand counterpart for accepting his invitation to participate in the event ‘Relevance of Gandhi in the contemporary Times’ held on the sidelines of UNGA on Tuesday.