Ahead of the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to India next week, the White House has identified New Delhi as one of its best counter-terrorism partners.
“The Indian government is one of our best CT (counter terrorism) partners,” said John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-Terrorism.
Mr. Brennan, who was responding to reporters’ questions at a hurriedly convened press conference after the latest round of terror plot was unearthed, said the U.S. has been sharing information with Indian government on a regular basis.
“We share on a regular basis with the Indian government,” Mr. Brennan said.
In fact counterterrorism cooperation between India and the U.S. would be on top of Mr. Obama’s agenda during his India visit and in his talks with Indian leaders, another top White House official had said early this week.
“We want to underscore the closeness of our counter-terrorism cooperation and the resilience of India in the face of terrorism, just as the U.S. has experienced it,” Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser, told a group of Indian reporters early this week.
“We share an interest in counter-terrorism. We share an interest in a stable Afghanistan that doesn’t provide safe haven for terrorist groups,” Mr. Rhodes said.
“We see India as a constructive partner in those efforts and we want to make sure that India is a part of our dialogue about the future of the region. And so this comes at a good time to continue those discussions,” he said.
Anish Goel, Senior Director, South Asia, at the National Security Council said the (David Coleman) Headley case has underscored the fact that how far Indo-U.S. counter-terrorism cooperation has come in the past couple of years.
“The fact that we are -- have more initiatives going with them than we ever have before. And that we gave access to Headley I think sort of demonstrates how we kind of view this issue basically in the same perspective as the Indian government,” he said.
Mr. Rhodes said after U.S. authorities arrested Headley -- the Mumbai terrorist suspect -- they learned a lot about 26/11.
“Not only did we share that information, but I think it’s a signal of the strength of our counter-terrorism cooperation that we actually provided access to Headley for the Indian security services so they were able to ask him questions directly, which continue to flesh out the understanding of what took place on 26/11,” he said.