India's president condemns attacks during visit to Hanoi
The president of India, who is on a four-day state visit to Vietnam, on Thursday condemned the terrorist attacks on Mumbai that left 101 people dead and paralyzed much of India's largest city, dpa reported.
"This mindless attack is the work of those who have no regard for human lives and are pursuing a path of destruction," President Pratibha Devisingh Patil said at a press conference in Hanoi.
"My heartfelt condolences to those who have been affected by this act of terror," she said. "Hostages are being held, and I am informed that the authorities are dealing with the situation. I hope that this suffering comes to an end quickly and the perpetrators brought to book."
The embassy of India said Thursday that the president would continue on to Indonesia as planned.
"She will stay here as scheduled until tomorrow morning," PK Mathur, the first secretary at the Indian embassy in Hanoi, said Thursday. "Then she will visit Indonesia after that."
According to Patil's official schedule, released by Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week, the Indian leader would meet with the secretary general of the Communist Party and would lay a wreath at a war memorial before departing for Jakarta Friday.
Le Dung, spokesman for Vietnam's Foreign Affairs Ministry, confirmed Thursday that the Indian president's schedule would remain unchanged.
Her 10-day visit to Vietnam and Indonesia is part of Patil's "Look East" policy.
Earlier this week, Patil met with members of India's business community in Vietnam's commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City.
Trade between the two countries has surged in recent years. In 2007, two-way trade between India and Vietnam surpassed 1.5 billion dollars.
Patil's visit was the second by an Indian president to Vietnam since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1972.