US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday pressed Pakistan to do more to ensure its territory is not used as launching pad by terror groups for attacks and also said that Hafiz Saeed was one of the principal architects of the 2008 Mumbai carnage.
Hillary’s comments came at a joint news conference after her talks with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna who spoke of the need for elimination of terrorist sanctuaries in the neighbourhood.
Clinton and Krishna nudged Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack and pledged to continue to work together in combating the menace.
During their talks,Krishna and Clinton discussed issues relating to Mumbai attack,Pakistan,Afghanistan and the Iranian nuclear crisis with the American side hoping to see continuing progress in India reducing oil imports from Tehran.
Combating violent extremism is something we all agree on…Pakistan should do more in ensuring that terrorists don’t make use as launching pads anywhere including to attack the country and outside. The unfortunate thing is the attacks have taken the lives of 30,000 Pakistanis, Clinton said.
In this regard,Clinton stressed for more concerted and stronger steps from governments in combating terrorism across the globe.
To a question on Saeed,the US’s top diplomat said her country has reason to believe that the JuD chief was one of the principal architects of the Mumbai attack that took the lives of 166 people.
We have issued this reward. We had earlier been successful. This is not unique. This is not a special case, she said.
In his remarks,Krishna said the recent terrorist attacks in Afghan capital highlighted the need for elimination of terrorist sanctuaries in the neighbournood and for Pakistan to take steps against terrorism,including bringing to justice the perpetrators of 26/11 attacks.
Krishna also stressed the need for stronger action from Pakistan on terrorism,including on bringing to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attack.
The US last month offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the conviction of Saeed,the founder of the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba(LeT).
Clinton hoped that the bounty would eventually lead to arrest or conviction of the JuD chief.
On Iran,Clinton said the US looked to India as a partner in the wide international effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and also to see progress by this country in reducing Iranian oil imports.
The best way to achieve this diplomatic tool,that we all seek,it is for the international community to stay united and to keep the pressure that has brought Iran back to the negotiating table, she said.
Clinton also made it clear that the international community would continue to exert pressure on Iran till a peaceful diplomatic resolution is achieved on the issue.
She said the US will send its Energy Coordinator to India next week for discussions with Indian officials on alternative sources of energy.
India and the US are after the same goal, she said.
Maintaining that the Iran issue should be seen beyond the issue of energy trade,Krishna said India has vital stakes in the Gulf region as six crore Indians work and stay in the region.
There are ties of culture and religion. We have a strong intent for the peaceful and negotiated settlement of issues. Our stand on this has been clear and consistent, he said.
The minister said India is dependent on imports for oil consumption and its demand has been rising by 10 million tonnes annually.
Iran is an important source of oil for us. It reflects the decision that is made on commercial,financial and technical consideration, he said.
Noting that India’s stand on UNSC sanctions against Iran has been the same,he said this is not a source of discord between India and the US.
In his opening remarks,Krishna said he conveyed to Clinton the continuing difficulties in mobility of professionals from Indian IT companies and the protectionist sentiments prevailing in the US.
We have had a good discussions on path to fostering commercial cooperation in civil nuclear energy. I assured her of India’s commitment to provide a level playing field to all US companies,within the framework of national law and our international legal obligations, the minister said.
I want to thank Secretary Clinton for her personal attention to the welfare of Indians and Indian students in the US, he said.
Krishna said the vision for Afghanistan was also discussed at the meeting. India stressed the need for sustained international commitment to build Afghan capacity for governance,security and economic development,and to support Afghanistan with assistance,investment and regional linkages,he said.
I conveyed our vital stakes in peace and stability in the Persian Gulf and wider West Asian region,given the six million Indians who live there and the region’s importance to our economy, he said.
The minister said he and Clinton discussed the importance of peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations,based on the position that Iran has rights as a member of NPT. But,Iran must also abide by its obligations as a non-nuclear weapons state under the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT),he said.