The government said on Thursday that it hoped the United States would join hands with India and play a more proactive role in containing the threat of terrorism.
New Delhi also said there was now a greater appreciation in Washington that the neighbourhood around India was swarming with terrorists.
Responding to requests for clarification on his suo motu statement on the U.S. visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said the issue of terrorism and its various aspects came up for discussion during the meeting.
“It was emphasised that our neighbourhood is infested with terrorists and it is necessary for the U.S. to join with India to fight terrorism. The Lashkar-e-Taiba and other organisations are the main engines,” the Minister said.
In his statement, Mr. Krishna said the Prime Minister and U.S. President Barack Obama said it was imperative that the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks were brought to justice and resolute and credible steps taken to eliminate safe havens and sanctuaries that provided shelter to terrorists and their activities.
In reply to a question raised by Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitely whether the U.S. was asked to put pressure on India’s neighbours with regard to dismantling the terror infrastructure there, Mr. Krishna said it was hoped that the U.S. would take a more pro-active role in tackling the threat.
To a question by Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) whether the counter-terrorism cooperation initiative in information-sharing and capacity-building meant that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency would have its people here, the Minister remarked that he was aware of the member’s allergy to these organisations. The country’s own intelligence agencies were competent to take care of the requirements.
Disagreeing with the charge by the Opposition that there was little to show by way of outcome of the bilateral engagement, he said the Manmohan Singh government now knew exactly where it stood vis-À-vis the 10-month-old Obama administration, regarding which there was some apprehension. “That purpose is fully served.”
Responding to Mr. Yechury who sought to know India’s position with regard to the 30,000 additional troops the U.S. was sending to Afghanistan and whether New Delhi was kept in the loop, the Minister said Washington was free to send troops to places where it was engaged in a war. As for consultation, it would have shown New Delhi as an ally whereas both countries were equal partners.