Hafiz Saeed 'principal architect' of 26/11: Hillary



Hafiz Saeed `principal architect` of 26/11: Hillary Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Lending support to India to fight terror, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday confirmed the bounty on the head of Lashkar-e-Toiba's founder and Jamat-ud-Dawa's chief Hafiz Saeed.

Calling Hafiz Saeed as one of the principal architects of the 26/11 attacks at Mumbai in India, Hillary said the US’ bounty meant to show solidarity with the people of India.

Addressing the media along with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna after their talks here, Hillary took a tough stand on Pakistan, saying Islamabad must fight terrorism for its own citizens.

She further warned Pakistan to ensure its territories are not used as launching pad by terror groups for attacks both within and outside the country.

Taking a stern stand, Krishna said that Pakistan must act against terrorists including those who organised the Mumbai attack.

Krishna told a joint news conference with Hillary that the recent terrorist attack in Kabul had highlighted "once again the need for elimination of terrorists and sanctuaries in the neighbourhood".

He said there was also "the need for stronger action from Pakistan, including the bringing to justice of the perpetrators of the (2008) Mumbai terror attack".

Krishna said he and Hillary also discussed "our respective relations with Pakistan".

On Iran

The US and India share the goal of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state, Hillary said.

"We want to prevent Iran from procuring a nuclear weapon," she said. "As I said in Kolkata, we don't believe Iran will be back on the negotiation table until there is unrelenting pressure.”

"This pressure must stay on."

Hillary also commended India for the steps its refineries were taking to reduce fuel imports from Iran.

She added: "We are also consulting with India and working with them on alternative sources of energy supply."

Krishna added that the Iranian nuclear issue was not a source of discord between the US and India and both countries underlined the need for a peaceful settlement of the matter through dialogue and negotiations.

He said this must be based on Iran's right as a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but it must also abide by its obligations as a non-weapon state.

The Indian minister added that he had conveyed to Hillary about India's soaring energy needs and the reasons why it was continuing to trade with Iran.

"Iran remains an importance source for us although our imports are declining. We have discussed our position and perspective on energy security and these discussions will continue," the minister said.

He, however, cleared that any more reduction of Iranian oil imports by India will be based on commercial, financial and technical considerations.

On Trade

Washington and New Delhi must "continue to expand trade and investment", Hillary said.

"We have to continue to expand trade and investment."

She added, “We should be working to having one of the world's largest trading ties".

The US and India are "two great democracies… with increasingly converging interests".

The two countries, she said, have to "work to meet the challenges and seize opportunities in South and Central Asia".

Krishna, meanwhile, said India and the US continued to make "tangible progress" in all areas of cooperation.

"We expressed the hope that our economic relationship would grow much faster and realise its enormous potential."

The Indian minister added that there were "issues" on both sides. Krishna pointed out the difficulties faced by Indian IT companies in the US.

He said India was committed to providing a level playing field to all US companies within the framework of national laws.

"Our strategic consultation has a global character ... (due to) convergence of view."

Hillary, in India on a three-day visit, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday.

She had earlier met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata before flying to New Delhi.

(With Agency’s inputs)