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'US pressing Pakistan to act against anti-India terror groups'

world Updated: Jun 08, 2010 11:41 IST

IANS
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Asserting it would never be soft on terrorism, the United States says it continues to press Pakistan to act against the terror syndicate operating from its soil, including anti-India groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

"The United States will never be soft on terrorism," US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake told reporters on Monday noting a terror syndicate operating in countries like Pakistan threatens both US, India and also Pakistan itself.

"This is our highest priority, and this is the area where probably we've made the greatest progress, in terms of our cooperation with India in terms of not only law-enforcement cooperation, but also intelligence cooperation," he said refuting a suggestion that US may be a little soft in dealing with cross border terrorism against India from Pakistan.

"We take extremely seriously the threats against both of our countries, because we believe that there is increasingly a syndicate that is operating in countries like Pakistan that threatens both of our countries, and it also threatens Pakistan itself," Blake said.

"So we feel it's in the interests of all three countries to address this very critical problem, to work together," said the US point man for South Asia.

"The US has been in the forefront of countries urging Pakistan to not only continue the progress it's been making in Swat and South Waziristan, but also to address the problem in the Punjab, namely, the Punjab-based groups, like Lashkar-e-Taiba, that are operating against India, that have also targeted the United States, in the Mumbai bombings and elsewhere."

"And again, this will remain a very, very high priority for us. And you should not doubt the sincerity of that statement," Blake said.

"We've taken a strong position on terrorism that is emanating from Pakistan soil, and that remains our very strong conviction, that it's in Pakistan's own interest to address that. And we'll continue to encourage our Pakistani friends to do that," he said in response to another question.

India-Pakistan relations also briefly came up during the US-India Strategic Dialogue he said. "Our long-standing position is that this is something that needs to be resolved by India and Pakistan, and that the pace and scope and character of that dialogue ...is really up to the two countries to decide."

Reaffirming US "support for the very important work that India has undertaken" in Afghanikstan, Blake said: "We have welcomed the very important role India has played so far. It's really up to India to decide how, where it wants to take its cooperation from here."

"We recognize that India is going to develop its own relationship with Afghanistan. We recognize that Pakistan will as well," he said. "We don't see this in zero sum terms."