U.S. mounting pressure on Pakistan, says Roemer

The U.S. Ambassador in India, Timothy Roemer, on Tuesday denied that his country viewed the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and in Mumbai differently.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr. Roemer, who was on a visit to Gujarat, said the U.S. and India had come together in unprecedented ways in the last couple of years. The U.S., he pointed out, shared intelligence related to David Headley with the agencies in India. “We are now working under the directions of the United States and India to help built capacity here in India, forensic capabilities, the possibility of new national counter terrorism centre, share best practices and expertise as to how to prevent the next terrorist attack,” he said. He also pointed out that the FBI had helped India in convicting Ajmal Kasab and had even testified in the open court.

Mr. Roemer also made it clear that Pakistan was required to do much more on its own soil to wipe out terror. Citing the recent indictments in the U.S. regarding the 26/11 attacks, which included an ISI official, Mr. Roemer said the U.S. in the last few weeks had decided to indict four more individuals and one of them had links to 26/11 attack. “Their links with certain organisations in Pakistan causes great concern,” he said responding to Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani issuing a clean chit to the country spy agency, the ISI.

“You can see from those indictments and other activities. The President, Barack Obama, said in the last 48 hours that the targets that the U.S. and India share in terms of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and individuals being indicted are more and more common,” Mr. Roemer said.

Pointing out that the U.S. was mounting pressure on Pakistan to do more on terror and also target the Lashkar apart from the al-Qaeda, he said the “commonalities and goals with regard to world security and intelligence sharing are very close between the U.S. and India.”

Mr. Roemer, however, dodged all questions regarding Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who had been denied a visa by his government to visit the U.S. Pointing out that as per the 2006 census in the U.S., nearly 20 per cent of the Indian-American citizens were from Gujarat, he said he had been asked by the U.S. President to connect with the common people of India and not to confine the focus on the Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, CEOs and Chief Ministers.

During the day, Mr. Roemer visited the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram to pay tributes to Gandhiji and also went round the Mahatma-founded Gujarat Vidyapith and tried his hands on the spinning wheel so dear to the Father of the Nation.