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Updated: February 18, 2010 16:44 IST

U.S. wants Headley to be brought to justice: Roemer

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U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer said the two countries shared a common perspective of the threat from terror groups. Photo:V Sreenivasa Murthy
The Hindu
U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer said the two countries shared a common perspective of the threat from terror groups. Photo:V Sreenivasa Murthy

Acknowledging that India and America share a “common enemy” in terror groups, the U.S. on Thursday said it wants to bring American terror suspect David Headley, charged in the Mumbai attack, to justice and make sure he pays a “severe penalty”.

The U.S. also said it will track people like Headley and other “blood thirsty” terrorists wherever they go to bring them to justice. Headley is currently in U.S. custody.

The two countries shared a common perspective of the threat from terror groups and were working closely to enhance security and safety, U.S. Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer said.

“They (terrorists) can strike very quickly in a bloodthirsty way into any part of the globe and this is something that our President and your Prime Minister is taking very seriously”, he told reporters.

On Headley, who faces conspiracy charge in connection with 26/11, Mr. Roemer said, “Headley may well be responsible for canvassing, tracking information to pass on to attackers of Mumbai blast. This is the sort of the thing that the U.S. is extremely serious about.”

“We want, along with Indian people and Indian government, to bring him to justice and make sure he pays a severe penalty for what he has done”, Mr. Roemer said.

“We want Headley to cooperate. We want him to continue giving us valuable information”, he said, adding currently the process of investigation was on and was not being interrupted.

India has been pressing the U.S. to give it access to the Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative for interrogation. “The U.S. will track people like Headley and other blood thirsty terrorists wherever they go to bring them to justice”, he asserted.

Mr. Roemer said both India and U.S. were cooperating in terms of collecting, sharing and analysing information in connection with anti-terrorism efforts.

The Indian Home Minister, he said, had “a very successful visit” to the U.S. recently, looking at labs working on anti-terrorism, meeting the New York Police and trying to find out the best practices in that country.

Mr. Roemer reiterated that the U.S. was ready to provide any assistance in the Pune blast investigation if India sought it. “We would provide any assistance we could.”

“We will do it only if asked. We respect the process. Going forward, when the government wants or sees a need and asks for any technical assistance, we as a government are happy to provide it”, he said.

Describing the Pune blast, which claimed 11 lives as tragic, he said he had immediately called up Home Minister P. Chidambaram and offered the American peoples’ condolences.

Describing the Indo-US relationship as a growing strategic relationship, he said there were various areas of opportunties for it to grow, including fighting piracy, maritime, defence exercises, weapon procurement and humanitarian causes. “It is up to the Indian government where they want to take this relationship”, he said.

“There is no limit to this relationship”, he said adding, “that does not mean there are agreements on every issue and no country or no ally has it (total agreement)”.

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