Headley: Inching closer
As the first India-US Strategic Dialogue came to an end on Thursday, another important engagement between the two countries may have begun - the interrogation by Indian investigators of Pakistani-American 26/11 terror plotter David Headley. Anirudh Bhattacharyya reports.world Updated: Jun 05, 2010 02:54 IST
As the first India-US Strategic Dialogue came to an end on Thursday, another important engagement between the two countries may have begun - the interrogation by Indian investigators of Pakistani-American 26/11 terror plotter David Headley.
Multiple reports said Indian investigators may have finally been given access to Headley on Friday.
An official who didn't want to be named said India had an agreement with the US under which it could question Headley within a time frame.
It was also said Headley's lawyer may have asked in advance for a detailed list of questions from the National Investigation Agency team and this may have delayed the process.
Earlier, an Indian official too had said the process could span multiple days.
Both US and Indian officials have been extremely tight-lipped on the matter.
In the morning, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told a press conference the process was on.
India's ambassador to the US Meera Shankar too said the government was in touch with US Attorney General Eric Holder on the matter.
The two sides are expected to issue a joint statement once the questioning is through.
Asked if the session would be hampered by the presence of a Department of Justice official and the 26/11 suspect's lawyer, Krishna said Headley was "fully covered by American laws and whatever the US legal system provides, he is entitled to it. We have to respect that as much as they respect our due process of law".
Meanwhile, the bilateral meet between delegations led by Krishna and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ended with an announcement from President Barack Obama that he would visit India in November.
"During his state visit (in November 2009), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited me and my family to India this year, and I happily accepted. And as I confirmed to him when we spoke last week, I am delighted to announce that I plan to visit India in early November," Obama said.
"I look forward to advancing our partnership, to experiencing all that India and its people and its incredible ancient culture have to offer."
Krishna and Clinton welcomed the start of the Strategic Dialogue process, likely to become an annual rite with the next scheduled for New Delhi next year.
"There are few relationships in the world that have so much potential as India-US relations," said Krishna.
Clinton reciprocated: "This is an affair of the heart, not just of the head."