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Updated: October 14, 2009 22:10 IST

Pakistan must prosecute 26/11 suspects: Roemer

Marcus Dam
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U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer at Rabindra Nath Tagore's house during his visit to Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata on Tuesday.
U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer at Rabindra Nath Tagore's house during his visit to Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata on Tuesday.

The United States believes it is “very important Pakistan prosecutes successfully” the seven suspects in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and take the facts and evidence against Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed to prosecute him, U.S. Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer said here on Wednesday.

The U.S. would continue to work with the Government of India on “overall threats posed by different [terrorist] groups,” and the two countries a shared agreement on “extreme radicalism that may come from places like Pakistan,” he said at a news conference.

‘Common enemy’

Mr. Roemer said, “We will be working together in historic ways. Washington is of the view that the Lashkar-e-Taiba is a common enemy. It is important that we continue to see progress in the dismantling of its infrastructure.”

The epicentre of radical extremists was along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and “the U.S. is working with India in unprecedented ways to share intelligence and information…We share a common concern.”

Mr. Roemer pointed out that the U.S. and India shared a strategic interest and geopolitical concerns. “One of the basis for our relations, as President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have articulated, is building on the successes of the past,” he said.

While working together to fight terror, the U.S. felt it was extremely important that India continued to grow and the two nations worked on other strategic areas of cooperation such as education, health and nutrition.

The two countries would continue to go after a common threat (terrorism) and be global partners as well as work together to improve the human condition.

‘Unprecedented cooperation’

The U.S. was looking at “unprecedented cooperation” from India “to share new information on terrorism.” Relations between the two countries could be among “the best and most important in the world.”

As Ambassador, he was asked by Mr. Obama to meet with leaders of different political parties — whether in the government or in the Opposition — and to engage with people of all classes and religions to ensure an atmosphere of cooperation between the two countries on the basis of “engagement, inclusion and investment.”

Mr. Roemer said he had a “very good meeting” with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Tuesday (in the course of his two-day visit to Kolkata) and found him to be “engaging, personal and very experienced.”

The envoy said he did not believe that American interest in investing in the State had “fizzled out.” On the contrary, “American business wants to make sure there is transparency, the rule of law, equal opportunities and equal access” when it comes to investment in the State.

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