Pak must ensure it deals with terrorists on its territory effectively: Obama

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Washington, Nov.25 (ANI): US President Barack Obama has said that Pakistan must ensure that it deals with terrorists operating on and from its soil in an effective manner, thereby wholeheartedly extending his administration's support to India's diplomatic efforts in convincing and cajoling authorities in Islamabad to act with decisiveness against the perpetrators of 26/11.

With just a day to go before the first anniversary of that horrific attack on Mumbai that claimed the lives of over 170 innocent persons, Obama indirectly acknowledged that the United States may have come up short in terms of dealing with the issue and in taking a balanced approach to developments and incidents in South Asia.

When asked at a joint press conference in the East Room about America's policy of arming Pakistan and allowing Islamabad to become a heavily armed adversary of India, Obama said: "There were probably times when we were just focused on the (Pakistani) military...instead of (engaging its) civil society."

Pakistan's role, he said, is crucial in countering terrorism.

"They are taking action in South Waziristan and SWAT. Our policy towards Pakistan is being refocused. So far we have had a single focus approach, on the military aspects of it. We realize strengthening the Pakistani civil society is equally important," he added.

Recalling the horrific attacks in Mumbai a year ago, he said Pakistan had to make sure it dealt effectively with extremists in its territory.

During the joint press conference on Tuesday, Obama erased any impression that he had downgraded ties with New Delhi in deference to China.

He described India as a "rising and responsible global power," and said New Delhi would play a "pivotal role" in meeting the future challenges in the world.

He repeatedly emphasized that US-India ties would be the "defining partnership of the 21st century."

"The United States welcomes and encourages India's leadership role in helping to shape the rise of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Asia," Obama said.

The warmness of the reception given to the visiting Indian Prime Minister and his entourage at the White House, however, did not culminate in both sides giving final touches to the US-India civil nuclear cooperation deal, including the fuel reprocessing agreement, as was anticipated ahead of Manmohan Singh's four-day visit.

The Prime Minister admitted that both sides still had some T's to be crossed and I's to be dotted.

Obama, however, "reaffirmed to the Prime Minister, my administration's commitment to fully implement nuclear agreement."

Sources said that the delay in finalising a reprocessing agreement did not mean anything and that this would come through soon if not during this visit.

The two sides announced several agreements, including what Obama joked would be the "appropriately-named" Obama-Singh or Singh-Obama" Knowledge Initiative. There were also agreements on health and agriculture.

Earlier, Obama set to rest all doubts about recognising India as a legitimate nuclear weapons state.

"As nuclear powers, we can be full partners in preventing the spread of the world's most deadly weapons, securing loose nuclear materials from terrorists, and pursuing our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons," he declared.

Both leaders and their respective governments also agreed that the meeting on climate change at Copenhagen to take place in December should have a "substantive and comprehensive outcome that would cover mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology."

The Prime Minister said both countries should become partners in developing the "green economy".

Dr. Singh also said that his government would work with the U.S. for the success of the Nuclear Security Summit, which President Obama will be hosting in April 2010. (ANI)

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