US, India to work together to defeat Lashkar

Washington, Dec 01: As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned to India after his first state visit to the US, American ambassador Timothy J Roemer on Monday said President Barack Obama had conveyed to Singh of their determination to jointly defeat the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and ensure that the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack suspects are prosecuted.

“Both leaders affirmed that peace and stability in Pakistan is in the interest of India and the US, both leaders had talked about their determination to work together to defeat Lashkar-e-Toiba and safe havens of other terror groups, wherever they are,” Roemer said, adding that they also discussed their intention to work together to see that Pakistan “effectively prosecutes” the seven suspects it had put on trial.

“This is something that the US feels very strongly about,” Roemer said, as he talked about the joint India-US counter-terrorism cooperation initiative which draws up 20 points on cooperation, from capacity building, forensic labs, mega city policing and also maritime and amphibious capability.

Describing Singh’s visit as a “watershed movement in the course of our amazing partnership”, the US ambassador said, “It was a meeting of the minds, literally and figuratively, reflecting not only the bold potential of our global partnership but also underlining the strength and depth of the unique people-to-people ties that fuel this defining partnership for the 21st century”.

But, Roemer refused to comment on media reports that Obama had written a letter to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari warning the latter not to use insurgents as a strategic tool and urging for the prosecution of the Mumbai terror attack suspects. “I am not the President of the United States. It is up to the (US) President what he says when it becomes public, if it becomes public,” he said, referring to the purported letter.

When asked about any mediation between India and Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir, he said the “pace, scope and character” would be determined by the two countries and not by any “outside interest”. “The US believes that bilateral relations between Pakistan and India will determine the pace, scope and character and not by us or any outside interest or any other country,” Roemer said.