US looking at LeT, JeM `off-camera`: Tharoor

Last Updated: Sunday, December 6, 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".

PTI



First Published: Sunday, December 6, 2009 - 12:20

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