04/15/2015 03:36 EDT | Updated 06/15/2015 05:59 EDT

Narendra Modi Cites Ottawa Attack In Call For Deeper Global Terror Response

OTTAWA - India's prime minister says last October's attack on Parliament Hill was a violation of a "temple" of democracy that was felt by free countries around the world.

Narendra Modi made an impassioned plea for greater international co-operation in the fight against terrorism, standing next to Prime Minister Stephen Harper not far from the corridor where the attack took place.

Modi called on the United Nations to use its 70th anniversary this year to adopt a draft treaty, several years in the works, which would formally criminalize terrorism, and deny access to money and weapons.

Harper says Canada and India will continue to deepen their partnership on matters of national security.

Remarks about the Oct. 22 attack are becoming a regular feature for visiting foreign leaders after they and Harper stroll the Hall of Honour, where gunman Michael Zehaf Bibeau died in a hail of gunfire.

The pair addressed the media in the grand Reading Room, the spot where the prime minister and his Conservative caucus took refuge while the gunfight raged outside the door.

"We have been victims of this, and now the whole world is undergoing this, and everyone feels now that terrorism has no borders, it has no form," Modi said through a translator.

"This attack on the temple of democracy was not just against Canada, it was an attack on human values. We have to come together, and we have to fight against terrorism."

The setting clearly resonated with Modi, who referenced his own country's battles with terrorist attacks on its soil in recent decades.

Just last week, a Pakistani court freed on bail the suspected mastermind of one of India's most notorious attacks: the siege of downtown Mumbai in 2008 that left 166 people dead.

The Pakistan-based terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, has been blamed for the incident.

Neither leader mentioned Air India Flight 182, which was bound for London when it was destroyed by a terrorist's bomb after departing Toronto on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 on board — most of them Canadians.

The tragedy remains the worst terrorist attack in Canadian history. Both Modi and Harper are scheduled to attend a wreath-laying ceremony Thursday at Air India memorial in Toronto.

Modi praised Harper as a leader who has pushed others in the world to better understand the terrorist threat. He also urged the United Nations to adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, a draft treaty still in progress.

"There should be a definition of terrorism," Modi said.

"Which are the countries, which are the people who are helping terrorists, their technological help, financing of terrorism — all those roads have to be closed."

Canada and India have been deepening their co-operation in the last decade, and that was bound to continue, including on the security front, Harper added.

"I think that Canada and India are two countries that not only share values and institutions but also share in the world both opportunities and threats," he said.

"We face many of the same opportunities, many of the same threats and problems."

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