Obama views India as ‘very important strategic partner’

February 13th, 2009 - 11:43 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Feb 13 (IANS) Denying that President Barack Obama’s administration is ignoring India, the US has asserted that India is a “very important strategic partner” and it certainly was keen on implementing their historic civil nuclear deal.

“No, that’s not the case at all,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters Thursday in response to suggestions that Washington had already started ignoring India after George W. Bush’s departure.

“India is a very important strategic partner for the United States,” Wood said.

Washington was “into the implementation phase of the 123 civil nuclear agreement”, he said, when asked about a few remaining certifications that Obama has to make before the historic deal can be implanted.

“I don’t have the specifics of where we are on this particular day with regard to implementation, but it is certainly something that we want to see happen, and nothing more beyond that,” Wood added.

Asked to comment on reports that Pakistan had announced the arrest of six people involved in the Nov 26 Mumbai attacks, he said: “We have asked Pakistan, and India has asked Pakistan, to cooperate fully in trying to bring to justice those who are responsible for the Mumbai attacks. So this would certainly be a very positive step.”

Noting that “Pakistan has committed that it would do everything in its power to bring people to justice who may have committed these atrocities who have been within their border”, Wood called it “a good step”.

“I think it shows that Pakistan is serious about doing what it can to deal with the people who may have perpetrated these attacks,” he said.

Asked how US would monitor if Pakistan takes action against those responsible for Mumbai attacks and not release them like notorious Pakistani A.Q. Khan, Wood said: “Pakistan’s got some tremendous challenges that it’s facing.

“It’s a sovereign government that has said it will follow these leads wherever they go in terms of trying to find out who was responsible for these horrific attacks in Mumbai.

“Pakistan knows the entire international community is watching and wants to see justice. And so that, in itself, I think, will be sufficient incentive to the Pakistanis to, you know, follow every lead wherever it goes,” Wood added.

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