Indian concerns on LeT take priority: Hillary

“Indian concerns” were one of the main reasons why the United States had not insisted on Pakistan shutting down the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group behind the Mumbai attacks of 2008, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week.

At a Congressional hearing on the U.S. policy in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Ms. Clinton gave her response to a query from Representative Ed Royce, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who asked her whether the State Department would consider making Pakistani efforts to shutdown the LeT a condition of the U.S. “scorecard” on Pakistan.

Ms. Clinton initially refused to categorically answer the query, saying, “So I do not want to commit at this time to taking such a path because I think it's important that there be further consideration of all of the implications.” When Mr. Royce pressed her further on the matter, she indicated that rather than Pakistani opposition to such a plan, it was Indian concerns that mattered.

“Of course, we worry about that very much, and we discuss it in great depth with our Indian counterparts because it is, first and foremost, a concern of theirs,” she said.

In particular, she noted, the U.S. continued to emphasise the need for more action by Pakistan in prosecuting the alleged masterminds of the Mumbai attacks. “Certainly, every time we meet with the Pakistanis, we press them on LeT, about the continuing failure, in our view, to fulfil all of the requirements necessary for prosecution related to the Mumbai attacks. And we will continue to do so,” she said.

However, hinting that exerting further pressure on Pakistan to shut down the LeT could impact discussions between India and Pakistan, she added, “But I think that our policy has to be carefully coordinated with the Indian concerns. As you know, India is trying to improve relations with Pakistan right now, and there are actually some very productive discussions going on.” Ms. Clinton's remarks also suggested the State Department has been intensively discussing this issue with Indian counterparts. She said, “On my last trip to India, Director of National Intelligence [James] Clapper went with me and had many in-depth conversations.”

Mr. Royce firmly focused on Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence colluding with extremist groups of different hues, and the dangers that posed to regional peace.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 1:01:38 AM |

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