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Obama’s thumbs up to self-defence

US president-elect Barack Obama has reiterated the “basic principle” that if attacked a country has the right to defend itself, but would not say if India had the right to go after terrorists inside Pakistan after the Mumbai terror attacks.

world Updated: Dec 08, 2008 22:14 IST
Arun Kumar

US president-elect Barack Obama has reiterated the “basic principle” that if attacked a country has the right to defend itself, but would not say if India had the right to go after terrorists inside Pakistan after the Mumbai terror attacks.

“Well, I’m not going to comment on that. What I’m going to restate is a basic principle,” he told NBC when asked if India now has the right of hot pursuit since he had said that the US reserves the right to go after terrorists in Pakistan if it had targets of opportunity.

“Number one, if a country is attacked, it has the right to defend itself. I think that’s universally acknowledged.

“The second thing is that we need a strategic partnership with all the

parties in the region — Pakistan, and India, and the Afghan government — to stamp out the kind of militant, violent, terrorist extremists that have set up base camps and that are operating in ways that threaten the security of everybody in the international community.”

“We can’t continue to look at Afghanistan in isolation. We have to see it as a part of a regional problem that includes Pakistan, includes India, includes Kashmir, includes Iran,” the president-elect said.

Obama said part of the kind of foreign policy he wanted to shape is one in which “we have tough, direct diplomacy combined with more effective military operations, focused on what is the number-one threat against US interests and US lives, and that’s Al Qaeda and their various affiliates”.

“And we are going to go after them fiercely in the years to come,” he added.

Asked how he planned to get the US out of Afghanistan, he suggested a combination of effective military action and much more effective diplomacy.