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India, US vow to combat terror together at meet

May 27, 2011 12:50 PM IST India India

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of the 26/11 trial in the US, Home Minister P Chidambaram and his US counterpart Janet Napolitano met the press after their meeting to present the main points that were discussed.

She refused to comment on the involvement of the ISI in the 26/11 attacks. Janet Nepolitano's visit marks the state of official co-ordination between New Delhi and Washington on internal security.

Significantly Napolitano stated that in her capacity as Homeland Secretary, that the Lashkar-e-Taiba ranked at the same level with the Al Qaeda.

"In my judgement as Homeland Security, LeT ranks right up there with al Qaeda and Al Qaeda related groups. The LeT organisation is of the same ranking as the Al Qaeda groups," she said.

She, however, would not get drawn into saying anything more explicit and did not answer the question of influencing the extradition of Hafiz Saeed, one of India's most wanted to India from Pakistan.

"United states and India face common threats and together we must share common approaches. We are here to talk about strategic partnership between India and US. But that strategic partnership is only going to intensify," she said.

On the issue of NRI Krittika's fight for justice in New York she said the US government is very sympathetic to the young woman - indicating clearly that justice will be served to the Indian teenager who was imprisoned wrongfully.

"I can sympathise with this young woman, who was apparently caught in a situation not of her own making. The matter is being litigated under the rules of the US. It's not proper to comment on sub judice, but I can say we are very sympathetic to this young woman," said Napolitano.

Chidambaram said that there is a perception amongst Indians that the US influences Pakistan a lot.

"There is a perception in India that the United States exercises a strong influence on the country that is the hub of global terror...There is great political and public expectation about Indo-US cooperation on counter terrorism" said Chidambaram, while adding that "The vast infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan has long flourished as an instrument of state policy."

After the first round of discussions, the delegation broke out into varied groups. Those being that of Supply chains, Coastal security, mega-city policing and sharing of information between federal, state partners, illicit finance, financial fraud, cyber security and criminal infra protection, capacity building, technology upgradation and modernisation.

"We will take reports of these six groups by the time 2nd round will take place in Washington next year. There is a lot of ground work that will be done," said Chidambaram.

India's main demand was to get access to 26/11 accused Tahawur Rana and also details on the raid on Osama in Abottabad.

Besides equipments, Napolitano and Chidambaram also spoke about the training that India needs on mega-city policing, terror financing, cyber security and as well as intelligence sharing and cooperating in terror investigations.

Home Minister P Chidambaram said terrorism is a common problem and needs to be tackled jointly.

"Terrorism remains a principal challenge for the two countries. The events of the last few days, especially inside Pakistan, speak to the success and enduring risks and challenges," said Chidambaram.

"India lives in perhaps the most difficult neighbourhood. The global epicenter of terrorism is our western neighbourhood. The vast infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan has long flourished as an instrument of state policy. Today terrorist groups operating from safe heavens in Pakistan are becoming fused," Chidambaram added.

"There has always been great public and political expectations on Indo-US counter terrorism cooperation. There is perception in India that US exercises a strong influence on the country that is the hub of global terror," he said.

Six months after the Home Secretary told CNN-IBN that India was dissapointed with the extent of information shared on David Headley, America on Friday said that it's committed to a comprehensive sharing of information on Mumbai - the question, however remains, will India get access to Rana? More importantly, will the US weiled, what Chidambaram called a strong influence on the global hub of terror to act against the Mumbai perpetrators - a question US Secretary of state Hillary Clinton will be faced with when she comes in July.