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US assures India provisional access to Headley

world Updated: Apr 12, 2010 17:32 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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President Barack Obama on Sunday told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that US is fully supportive of India’s request for access to David Headley, wanted in the Mumbai terrorist attack case, and working through the legal processes for granting it.

Manmohan Singh listed in detail about New Delhi’s concern over terrorism emanating from Pakistan with Barack Obama while raising the Headley issue and went on to mention about the activities of Pakistan -based terror outfits and individuals. Singh also stressed that its neighbour is yet to take “convincing steps” against those who plotted the Mumbai terrorist attacks and raised concerns over the security assistance (military assistance).

“President Obama was fully supportive of the request for the provision of such access. The is working through the legal systems” for giving the access, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said.

Rao said that our Prime Minister mentioned about Hafiz Saeed, founder of LeT and HuJI chief Ilyas Kashmiri while talking about terrorist activities directed against from Pakistan. The concern over the military assistance to Pakistan — which Foreign Secretary mentioned as security assistance — was also raised. Prime Minister placed his thoughts on economic premises, saying that the terrorism emanating from the neighbourhood will affect India’s prospect when she is poised for greater economic growth.

“President Obama fully appreciated Singh’s concerns… The President said that they will engage on these issues”, Rao said. Obama has also met the Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani later in the day. The President stressed for reduction of tension between the two South Asian neighbours and urged for the dialogue process.

Rao also said that the US President appreciated Indian “sacrifices and contribution”. The 50-minute meeting between the two leaders at Blair House, the official guest house of the President, took place in the context of the US having differences over the latter’s Afghanistan-Pakistan policy.

While noting that the reprocessing agreement for the US-origin spent fuel, an important step in the Indo-US nuclear deal, has been finalized, the US president hoped that the Nuclear Liability Bill, will be passed as “expeditiously”. The Bill is important for the firms to enter Indian nuclear energy sector, and government sources stressed that the best case scenario for the government is to introduce the Bill in the Parliament and then refer it to the standing committee for making changes.