National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon has met his US counterpart James Jones in Washington and discussed modalities by which access could be given to David Headley, Lashkar-e Taiba operative blamed for role in Mumbai attacks.
Menon's meeting with Jones to discuss next steps in the bilateral ties came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh raised the issue of Headley with President Barack Obama. Modalities and ways in which India could be given access to Headley, a Pakistani-origin American national, were among the various issues discussed by the two National Security Advisers, sources said.
Besides access, India is determined to seek Headleys' extradition.India has said that it would use every occasion to seek Headley's extradition and access to him.
Headley, who was arrested in Chicago in October last year, has confessed to playing a crucial role in the Mumbai attacks. In this plea bargain with the US government, he has offered to be subjected to questioning by foreign investigators through deposition, video conferencing or Letters Rogatory.
The sources said India would push for Headley's extradition. But if that takes time, India will seek direct access to him to unravel the entire conspiracy to which he was a part not only in terms of 26/11 but other planned attacks in India.
"Extradition will be our preference because the crime has been committed in India," they said.
At the same time, the sources noted that India was still in the midst of legal processes with regard to seeking access to and extradition of Headley. Formal communication would be sent to the US after that.
India is keen to interrogate Headley in a way that is legally acceptable in a court in the country.
"The interrogation should be legally usable and satisfy our legal processes," the sources said.