No outside interest or other countries to determine Indo-Pak relationship: US Envoy

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New Delhi, Nov.30 (ANI): Apparently taking a u-turn from what US President Barack Obama envisaged in a joint statement issued during his recent visit toBeijing, where he advocated for China's increased footprint in South Asia and envisioned a role for that country in facilitating a resumption of the suspended composite dialogue between India and Pakistan, US envoy to India Timothy Roemer said Monday that no outside interest or third country would determine India-Pakistan relations.

Addressing a question and answer session after a press conference in New Delhi, Roemer said: "US believes that bilateral relations between India and Pakistan will be determined at the pace, character and scalp determined by those two countries not by outside interest not by other countries, but by these two countries here in this region."

Pakistan is consistently asking the United States in particular, and the international community in general, to urge India to resume dialogue that was suspended after last year's terror attacks on Mumbai, which claimed 166 lives. India has consistently maintained that dialogue with Pakistan can only resume after Islamabad dismantles the terror infrastructure operating from its soil, and brings to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack.

Pakistan's move to charge sheet seven main conspirators of the Mumbai attacks last week has not convinced India, which still feels that Islamabad needs to do much more on this front to convince it and the rest of the international community of its sincerity to act.

In fact, today, in a blunt letter to his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari, President Barack Obama has called for Islamabad to end its alleged collaboration with extremist groups like al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Pakistan Taliban. He reportedly warned Zardari that using insurgent groups to pursue policy goals "cannot continue."

Roemer said that both President Obama and Prime Minister Singh during the latter's recent visit to Washington, had discussed how India and the US could work together to make Pakistan take effective action against the Mumbai attack conspirators.

"They (Singh and Obama) also agreed to work together to defeat LeT and other areas of safe havens of terrorists. They had fruitful talks about working together to make sure that Pakistan prosecutes the seven suspects caught and hopefully convicts them of killing scores of Indian and six Americans," he added.

He further said that US strongly feels that Pakistan will pursue even suspects.

A special FBI team will be arriving in New Delhi this week to share "all details" of its probe into the plans and network of US terror suspect David Headley and his Pakistani-Canadian associate Tahawwur Rana.

Refusing to comment on the extradition and on India's demand for access to Hadlee and Rana, Roemer said: " FBI continue to develop trust and confidence with India after the Mumbai attacks about a year ago. Both our countries share a working relationship. The FBI helped India not only in testifying in court, but also bringing a lot of their expertise forward, tracking information with technology, DNA etc".

"This was very helpful to India, that will not only continue but expand as well," Roemer added.

"I wanted to take a few minutes with you today to reflect on the events of last week. This is a watershed moment in the course of our amazing partnership," Roemer said.

"We pledged to work together to protect our citizens from terrorism, to develop trade and economic opportunities for Americans and Indians, to educate our future generations so they can solve the global challenges facing the world, and to invest in new technologies which will provide us all an environmentally-sustainable and economically bright future," the envoy said.

"Our new Counter-terrorism Cooperation Initiative will strengthen collaboration on counter-terrorism, information sharing, and capacity building - already at unprecedented levels - and make our citizens and cities safer," he added.

He said that both leaders would also be enhancing efforts to build a free and stable Afghanistan. Both nations were also committed to expanding defence cooperation, including collaboration on humanitarian, disaster relief, and maritime security efforts through exchanges, exercises and defence sales.

Both President Obama and Prime Minister Singh, he said also pledged to work together for global non-proliferation and to realize their shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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