News » National

Updated: April 13, 2010 03:57 IST

Obama walks tightrope with Manmohan, Gilani

    Siddharth Varadarajan
    Narayan Lakshman
Comment   ·   print   ·   T  T  
President Barack Obama leaves the Blair House and walks across Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House after a series of meetings in Washington on Sunday.
President Barack Obama leaves the Blair House and walks across Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House after a series of meetings in Washington on Sunday.

Appreciates India's interest in Afghanistan; tells Pakistan that extremists do not distinguish between victims

India and the United States made a fresh push on Sunday to dispel the clouds of uncertainty hovering over their relationship in the wake of America's increasing dependence on Pakistan as a partner in its war against extremism in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama, accompanied by their top advisers, met here for 50 minutes on the eve of the Nuclear Security Summit. A few hours later, the U.S. President sat down with Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan.

The U.S. President reassured Dr. Singh that he “welcomed the humanitarian and development assistance that India continues to provide to Afghanistan,” the White House said in a statement. Providing an Indian account of the discussions, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said President Obama told the Prime Minister the U.S. “fully appreciated India's interest in Afghanistan and recognised the enormous sacrifices that India has made in helping to stabilise that country.”

Mr. Obama also sought to put to rest speculation on America's reluctance to allow Indian investigators access to David Coleman Headley, the Lashkar-e-Taiba operative arraigned in Chicago for his role in the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. Ms. Rao described the U.S. President as being “fully supportive of our request for provision of such access.”

In his meeting with Prime Minister Gilani, Mr. Obama said that “extremists do not distinguish between us and we are truly facing a common enemy,” a White House readout of the exchange said. Mr. Obama also sought to dispel Islamabad's fears that the U.S. had sinister designs towards the country's nuclear programme, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters later.

Playing his role as an economist to the hilt, Prime Minister Singh told Mr. Obama about the role the U.S. and G-20 could play in speeding up the recovery of the global economy. India was also playing a role in the “architecture of high economic growth,” he said, but warned that the terrorist onslaught in the region “could affect our growth prospects.” This terrorist menace should be tackled and this was an issue on which India and the U.S. stood on the same side, Ms. Rao quoted the Prime Minister as saying. “He said this with specific reference to what is happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan. How this menace was tackled would determine the future of the South Asian region, the Prime Minister said. He mentioned in this context the issue of David Coleman Headley and also the tremendous rise in infiltration across the Line of Control.” Dr. Singh also brought up the activities of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Ilyas Kashmiri, “as also the fact that unfortunately there was no will on the part of the government of Pakistan to punish those responsible for the terrorist crimes in Mumbai of November 2008,” Ms. Rao said.

Directly spelling out New Delhi's expectations, the Prime Minister said that this was an area “where the partnership of India and the United States could make the difference.”

According to Ms. Rao, President Obama said he shared Dr. Singh's vision of South Asia and that he favoured the reduction of tensions between the two countries. At this point, the Prime Minister stressed the need for Pakistan to take convincing action against those accused of involvement in the Mumbai attacks, the Foreign Secretary said. She added that Mr. Obama fully understood Indian concerns about the LeT and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The U.S. was engaging Islamabad on these issues and would be sensitive to the concerns India has expressed in the context of American security assistance to Pakistan. Asked to elaborate what that meant, Mr. Rao said the issue would be monitored “keeping India's concerns in mind.”


‘26/11 conspirators still roaming free’April 15, 2010

All eyes on Manmohan, Gilani handshakeApril 13, 2010

Pakistan seeks civil nuclear deal with atomic powers April 13, 2010

Leaders focus on keeping nukes from terroristsApril 13, 2010

Obama welcomes Indian offerApril 13, 2010

India wants ‘zero tolerance’ for nuclear traffickersApril 13, 2010

Manmohan links nuclear security and disarmamentApril 13, 2010

Nuclear Summit adopts communiqué and plan of work April 14, 2010

Manmohan guarded on future Pakistan policyApril 14, 2010

India’s position on terrorism vindicated at Summit: ManmohanApril 14, 2010

In South Asia, Obama juggles tactical, strategic considerationsApril 12, 2010

Details of India’s access to Headley ‘not yet worked out’April 12, 2010

Anxious to see you in India: Manmohan to ObamaApril 12, 2010

Obama hopes for expeditious passage of Nuclear Liability BillApril 12, 2010

Nuclear Summit agenda is to ensure terrorists don't get the bombApril 12, 2010

Nations mull plan to tighten security of nuclear materialsApril 11, 2010

India to achieve 9-10 p.c. growth: ManmohanApril 12, 2010

Iran not yet nuclear capable: Gates April 12, 2010

Bring 26/11 perpetrators to justice, Obama tells Pakistan April 12, 2010

Manmohan highlights terror threat emanating from Pakistan April 12, 2010

Manmohan-Obama bilateral focused on nuclear security, Afghanistan April 12, 2010

Iran sanctions push casts shadow on Manmohan-Obama meetApril 10, 2010

Manmohan, Obama hold talksApril 12, 2010

Hillary: India, Pakistan have upset nuclear deterrent balanceApril 10, 2010

‘All bets off if U.S. comes under biological attack’April 12, 2010

Manmohan raises Headley issue with Obama April 12, 2010

Nuclear Security Summit opens in WashingtonApril 13, 2010

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Tamil Nadu

Andhra Pradesh

Other States






Recent Article in National

The Ganga-Bramhaputra Basin together store around 960 cubic km of water, researchers have claimed in a first first-of-its-kind study after mapping the rivers, and said it will help understand droughts and floods to better manage water resources in the region.

Ganga-Brahmaputra basin mapped

Scientists say this will help understand droughts and floods to better manage water resources in the region »