'Headley issue didn’t hijack Indo-US dialogue'
Washington: Refuting media reports that
the Headley episode had hijacked the last week's Indo-US
Strategic Dialogue, a top American official has said that the
issue "did not even come up" during the discussion between the
"Let me just say that this in no way hijacked the
strategic dialogue. This didn't even come up in the strategic
dialogue," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central
Asia, Robert Blake, said in response to a question that the
strategic dialogue was hijacked by the Headley case.
The official pointed out that the issue of access to
Headley was "not a topic of great conversation" during the
Strategic Dialogue between India and the United States.
"It was not a focus of our discussions," he said.
Asked on the time taken for grating access to Headley,
Blake said: "I would dispute your assertion that it took a
long time. I mean, these are very sensitive matters, that we
wanted to make sure that Mr Headley would be willing to talk,
and so a number of things had to be worked out. And let me
just leave it at that."
"Well, let me just say that there's been a great deal
of transparency and close cooperation between our two
"For obvious law-enforcement reasons, there are many
things that we can't share with the press. But again, I think
we've had very good and close cooperation on this particular
issue. And I think our Indian friends would confirm that," the
Assistant Secretary of State said in response to a question.
Replying to questions from Indian journalists from New
York (via video-conference) and Washington, Blake insisted
that it is much better not to comment on these things while
such cases were ongoing.
"So again, there's cooperation that's taking place..
that's very constructive between our two governments that we
can't necessarily describe to the press," he said.
Blake said the question of access to David Coleman
Headley was addressed by National Security Advisor Gen (Rtd)
James Jones in an interview to the Press Trust of India (PTI)
over the weekend, in which he said that Indian authorities
have been provided with the access.
"I think I'll just leave it there. I'll leave it to
the Department of Justice to offer further comment, because
they're the ones that are the lead agency on this."
"But as (the US) Ambassador (to India Tim) Roemer and
many others have said, our two countries have been engaged
intensively on this, and this is another good area of
cooperation between the United States and India," Blake said.