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HindustanTimes Mon,15 Sep 2014

'Safe havens in Pakistan for terror unacceptable'

Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 08, 2010
First Published: 13:44 IST(8/11/2010) | Last Updated: 00:53 IST(9/11/2010)

He may have been overly restrained in his comments in the early part of his tour. But what US President Barack Obama said about Pakistan on Monday evening, during his address in Parliament, was music to Indian ears.

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"We will continue to insist to Pakistan's leaders that terrorist safe-havens within their borders are unacceptable, and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks (must) be brought to justice," said Obama.

Obama had already said he wanted India to engage in dialogue with Pakistan. At their joint press conference earlier in the afternoon at Hyderabad House, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserted he was ready for talks any time.

"India is committed to resolving all problems with Pakistan but simultaneously Pakistan should ensure that it moves away from terror-induced coercion," Singh said.

"You cannot be talking at the same time and simultaneously the terror machine is active as ever. I have always maintained that a strong peaceful, moderate Pakistan is in the interest of India."

"We are not afraid of the K-word," he added, referring to Kashmir.

On his part, Obama was just as forthright on Kashmir. He said the US "cannot impose a solution to Kashmir."

"I indicated to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that that I am happy to play any role the two parties may want to reduce tensions between the two countries," he said.

"Dialogue between India and Pakistan may not begin on the particular flashpoint (Kashmir)," he elaborated.

"I believe that it is in the interest of India and Pakistan to reduce tensions between themselves and the US cannot impose solutions."

In his Parliament speech later, Obama also endorsed the Indian position that to succeed in the war on terror in Afghanistan, the eastern and western borders of Pakistan had to be tamed.

"Our strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates has to succeed on both sides of the border. That is why we have worked with the Pakistani government to address the threat of terrorist networks in the border region."

Empathising with victims, he said "We honor the memory of all those who have been taken from us, including Americans on 26/11 and Indians on 9/11".


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