India hopes for US pressure on Pakistan against terror

November 30th, 2008 - 11:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew Delhi, Nov 30 (IANS) India hopes to persuade the US to put pressure on Pakistan to come down heavily on terror groups on its soil with Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon leaving for Washington Monday to meet the transition team of president-elect Barack Obama.Menon is likely to meet influential figures in the transition team that includes Wendy Sherman, the co-chair of the state department’s Agency Review Team, which is tasked with preparing policy and personnel for the soon-to-be-named secretaries.

“The foreign secretary will raise India’s concerns, especially after the recent spate of terror attacks, with Obama’s transition team seeking America’s help to put pressure on Pakistan to curb terrorism,” said a senior official in the cabinet secretariat.

The meeting has gained added urgency after the Mumbai terror attack that killed 183 lives and injured over 300, said the official.

During Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit here, India raised its concerns and said peace talks would fail if such incidents continue.

Investigators believe that the terrorists were linked to the Laskher-e-Toiba (LeT).

Menon is also expected to meet Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, who served as Washington’s chief interlocutor during the last lap of the India-US nuclear deal, an official source said.

Burns is likely to acquire a more important position in the foreign policy establishment in the Obama presidency.

Obama has already articulated his new approach to the war on terror and continuing instability in Afghanistan that could involve a proactive involvement of Pakistan and a likely US role in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

India has made it clear many a time that Kashmir is a bilateral issue that is being discussed by New Delhi and Islamabad in the framework of their composite dialogue and has objected to any perceived third-party intervention.

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