NSA downplays Headley tiff ahead of Obama visit

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 16:27

New Delhi: Seeking to downplay the Headley
controversy, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon Tuesday
said the access given by the US to the Pakistani-American
terrorist was "unprecedented", saying such cooperation may
not have been possible five years back.

Menon`s remarks seeking to clear the air ahead of the
visit of US President Barack Obama, came within days of Home
Secretary GK Pillai voicing disappointment over the US not
sharing specific information on David Headley, a key accused
in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

"In India, (there is a debate on) how much did the US
knew about Headley at what time and how much did they tell us.
If you look at the broader picture, the kind of access we got
to Headley is unprecedented. This is not what many states do
very easily," he said at a function organised by FICCI here.

Menon wondered whether this kind of cooperation would
have been possible about five years back.

He said the dissatisfaction over certain aspects of the
ties was because people expect "much more" out of this
growing relationship.

"People expect much more out of this relationship. So, a
lot of dissatisfaction we hear, whether it is outsourcing or
counter-terrorism, (it is because) we expect this relationship
to do much more," Menon said.

The NSA said the achievements of the relationship were
"unprecedented" which neither of the two countries would have
considered five or ten years back.

"The level of engagement between our two countries is
unprecedented. We never had this kind of engagement with each
other in our history. There is no sphere of human endeavour in
which we do not actually cooperate... the range of our
engagement is quite unprecedented," he said.

Menon said the visit of Obama has given both the
countries an opportunity to "actually put into practice and
not just to showcase what we actually practice".

Asserting that he was "very optimistic" about the future
of Indo-US ties, the NSA said the best thing for the countries
to do was to be have a pragmatic approach in furthering the

"I think we should do what we do best. We should be
pragmatic and work the relationship where it works... I think
we have the moment where we can be ambitious about the
relationship," Menon said.


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First Published: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 16:27

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