Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Thursday, 27 November 2008

UK leaders pledge India support

Prime Minister Gordon Brown: 'Shocked and outraged'

British political leaders have condemned the "horrific" attacks in Mumbai, in which one Briton has died and several others have been injured.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said his first priority was to ensure any Britons still caught up in the wave of attacks in the Indian city were safe.

A team of Foreign Office staff have arrived in India to help the victims.

Tory leader David Cameron said all nations must "stand together" to defeat the threat of terrorism.

'Shock and outrage'

The Foreign Office has confirmed one British fatality and said more than seven other Britons have been injured while adding that the situation still remains far from clear.

At least 119 people have been killed, and more than 300 injured, in the co-ordinated shootings in India's business capital.

These are horrific incidents which have shocked and outraged people around the world
Gordon Brown

Scores of people, said to include foreign nationals, are still believed to be being held hostage in two luxury hotels - the Taj Mahal Palace and the Oberoi Trident - and an office block.

The UK prime minister pledged to do "whatever it takes to protect British citizens", including any still trapped in the two hotels occupied by the gunmen.

"Our determination is to make sure that those people caught up [in the incidents] are safe and those people who are injured are taken care of," he said.

"These are horrific incidents which have shocked and outraged people around the world," he said, adding that the "world must come together to fight terrorist groups".

Mr Brown, who held a meeting of the Cobra emergency response committee on Thursday, said UK police and security officials "well-versed" with terrorist incidents had been sent to India.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said more than 1,200 people had contacted an emergency number set up by the Foreign Office to provide information about the situation.

All the Foreign Office's resources would be deployed in helping people caught up in the attacks, including supplying replacement passports and visas where needed and covering the cost of tickets home.

He stressed it was "very premature" to speculate on possible al-Qaeda involvement in the attacks although he accepted the attacks did "bear some hallmarks" of the terrorist group.

'Not cowed'

Mr Cameron described the incidents as "absolutely horrific" and said nations must unite to fight the threat of terrorism.

He said there was no such thing as an "isolated terrorist attack" and that the attack on India was an attack on the UK too.

We will defeat extremist terrorism wherever it comes from
David Cameron, Conservative leader

"They want to stop us travelling, trading and co-operating," Mr Cameron said of those responsible. "We should say no."

"We will stand together. We will defeat extremist terrorism wherever it comes from. We will not be cowed or bullied by these people."

The Conservative leader said he had spoken to two Tory MEPs - Sajjad Karim and Syed Kamall - who had been caught up in one of incidents but who were now safe.

The Foreign Office has advised against all non-essential travel to Mumbai until further notice.

Sir Richard Stagg, the British High Commissioner, said there were likely to be more UK injured and the identities of the hostages being held across Mumbai were unknown.

He refused to discuss the nature of their injuries and added that the nationality of the hostages being held in the city was unknown though some were "foreign".

Eyewitnesses have said the attackers had been seeking out UK and US passport holders.

Business ties

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said it was "crucial" that the international community stood together to fight terrorism.

"India and Britain have close historical ties which should rightly prompt a signal of strong support from Britain to the Indian government."

Mike Gapes, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said he believed the improvement in relations between India and Pakistan in recent months may have been one factor behind the attacks.

The attacks could not be allowed to damage Britain's strong trading relationship with India, he added.

"It is very important that we recognise that a small number of fanatical extremists cannot stop the economic links we have between Britain and India," he said.

Police in Mumbai said the shootings were co-ordinated terrorist attacks and the gunmen had fired indiscriminately.

The two five-star hotels were among numerous locations in the main tourist and business district targeted late on Wednesday.

Gunmen, using grenades and automatic weapons, also opened fire at a train station and a hospital.

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