India and the U.S. continued to differ over the issue of sharing of specific information prior to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks with New Delhi asserting that it was “disappointed” on not being given specific inputs and Washington maintaining that it provided “regular and consistent” information.
Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said Indian agencies were “disappointed” with not being provided specific information on David Headley while U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer told reporters that U.S. provided “regular and consistent” information to India even before 26/11 attacks.
“…The U.S. shared intelligence on a regular and consistent basis with the government of India prior to the Mumbai attacks. We have also shared information with the government of India after the Mumbai attacks. Now, it’s historic and unprecedented in nature. It is saving lives on a daily basis,” Mr. Roemer said.
He was asked about Mr. Pillai’s remarks that agencies here were “disappointed” that specific information was not provided by the U.S., which could have helped the country arresting Headley on his second visit before the attacks.
Talking about his experience as a 9/11 Commission member, Mr. Roemer said even after being an U.S. commission, the probing body was not given access to one of the accused and masterminds of terror attacks on the U.S. Khalid Seikh Mohammed.
“When India asked America for access to Headley, we gave it. Because India is our strategic partner and our friend and somebody with whom we share intelligence on regular and consistent basis.
“So, India could sit down with Headley and ask him what happened prior to Mumbai. We are not afraid what he will say. In fact, we provided that opportunity to India to ask anything they want,” the U.S. envoy said.
India has been maintaining that U.S. lacked in providing specific information and only gave “general information” prior to 26/11.
“In the last few months, once Headley case surfaced, we have had interactions and exchanges with the American authorities into investigations. Before 26/11, we did not have anything more than very general, non-specific information on these warnings and threats,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had said.
According to some media reports, Headley’s two wives had reportedly told the FBI over a year prior to the Mumbai attacks that he was working with the Lashkra-e-Taiba and planning attacks in India.
The reports suggested that the U.S. did not pass on these specific inputs to India, which could have helped avert 26/11 strikes.