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Updated: April 12, 2010 03:29 IST

Manmohan raises Headley issue with Obama

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with U.S. President Barack Obama during their meeting ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit, at Blair House in Washington on Sunday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with U.S. President Barack Obama during their meeting ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit, at Blair House in Washington on Sunday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday raised the issue of India getting access to 26/11 plotter David Headley with President Barack Obama, who said the U.S. was fully supportive of the request and working through legal processes in that regard.

After an hour-long meeting Mr. Singh had with Mr. Obama at the Blair House here, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters that the Prime Minister had discussed terrorism and in this context referred to Pakistani-American LeT operative Headley.

The Prime Minister also spoke about JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, and HuJI chief Iliyas Kashmiri, who are operating against India from Pakistan.

Mr. Obama said the U.S. was working through legal processes for giving India access to Headley.

“He (Obama) was fully supportive of our request for provision of such access,” Ms. Rao said.

During the meeting, second in nearly five months, Mr. Singh told Mr. Obama that there was no will on the part of Pakistan to punish the 26/11 perpetrators.

“This is where partnership between India and the U.S. would help,” he was quoted as saying by Ms. Rao.

Mr. Singh, who was assisted by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Ms. Rao, told Mr. Obama that the future of South Asia will be determined by the way the menace of terrorism is tackled.

The Prime Minister said India is poised for high economic growth but ongoing terrorism emanating from the neighbourhood could affect that prospect.

Mr. Obama stressed the need for reduction of tensions between India and Pakistan and in this regard favoured dialogue.

On activities of the LeT and other terror outfits against India, Mr. Obama said the U.S. shares India’s concerns and Mr. responded saying New Delhi wants convincing action against those behind Mumbai attacks, Ms. Rao said.

Mr. Obama appreciated India’s role in Afghanistan, sacrifices made by India there and developmental contributions. The U.S. would like India to continue to be involved in those activities, she said.

National Security Council spokesperson Mike Hammer said the two leaders vowed to continue to strengthen the robust relationship between the people of their countries and looked forward to the upcoming U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue as the next step in that process.

“They agreed on the need for India and the United States to work together on global development issues, including economic infrastructure, food security, and poverty reduction,” he said.

Mr. Hammer said the two leaders also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and their shared vision for a strong, stable, and prosperous South Asia.

In this context, Mr. Obama welcomed the humanitarian and development assistance that India continues to provide to Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama also thanked Singh for his attendance at the Nuclear Security Summit and for India’s role in making the Summit a success. They also discussed a number of regional and global issues, including counterterrorism and nonproliferation. President Obama reiterated his commitment to visit India in 2010,” Mr. Hammer said.

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