US looking at LeT, JeM `off-camera`: Tharoor
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Last Updated: Sunday, December 06, 2009, 12:20
New Delhi: Seeking to explain the absence of mention of anti-India terror in the US' new Af-Pak strategy, India has said the Obama administration was "looking at" terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad "off-camera".

Welcoming the Af-Pak policy unveiled on Tuesday, Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said the pressure maintained by the US on Taliban and al Qaeda there is in the interest of India as it keeps such elements on the "backfoot".

"Af-Pak is Afghanistan and Pakistan and does not include India...The US President was addressing his own people about the commitment his government made to the people and to sent their national troops to the foreign land," Tharoor told a news channel while explaining why terrorism in India found no mention in the policy.

When it was pointed out that even terror groups such as LeT and Jaish-e Mohammed, which are based in Pakistan, found no mention in the US strategy, Tharoor said the US was not engaged in any operations against India's "immediate enemies".

On whether it meant that the US was ignoring India's concerns on terrorism, he disagreed, saying, "the US is looking at the terrorism that affects us ... and it's off-camera."

To a question, Tharoor said there should be no distinction between al Qaeda inspired terrorists and terror directed against India. "For us there is no difference between somebody who wants to kill people in Bali or Mumbai."

Pointing out that easing pressure on Taliban and al Qaeda on Af-Pak border affects India, he said "it is a good thing for us that the aspect of the problem is dealt with and those people are kept on the backfoot".

Asked whether India can rely on Obama as he says "something to India and and something else to Pakistan", the MoS External Affairs said, "We are not relying on anybody to get this problem (of terrorism) solved."

He made it clear that India need not agree with the US on everything they say or the way they do it.

"India stands on its two feet and we deal with our own problems," he said, adding that US has been a "positive and supportive element on this issue".

On US Defence Secretary Robert Gates' assessment that terror groups would carry out attacks against India to divert attention, the Minister said India was not scared but the country needs to be careful and vigilant.

"We cannot be complacent because there have been no major attacks in the last one year but that does not mean that it will last for another year," he said.

He allayed fears about the Obama administration being influenced by Pakistan's view on Kashmir, saying India has been dealing with the new government for last 11 months at all levels and "every indication is that the US does not think that way about our problem".


First Published: Sunday, December 06, 2009, 12:20

Tag: TharoorLeTJeM
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