India, US agree on terror; have stakes in Pakistan’s stability

October 4th, 2008 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) In a growing convergence of perceptions on terrorism in the region, India and the US Saturday said they have stakes in a “successful civilian government” in Pakistan, even as New Delhi underlined the anti-terror pledge President Asif Zardari had given to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.“We have stakes in a successful civilian government in Pakistan. We all have an interest in controlling terrorism in the region,” US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters at a joint press interaction here with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

“The US has encouraged cooperation between India and Pakistan. A good relationship between India and Pakistan is going to help,” Rice said when IANS asked her how India and Pakistan can cooperate in combating terrorism flowing from across the border.

Alluding to former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination by extremists last year, Rice underlined the importance of curbing terrorism in the region and admitted the issue figured in her discussions with Mukherjee.

The two sides also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, which is witnessing an escalation in Taliban-led violence which is frustrating the US-led coalition’s efforts to bring peace and stability to the country.

“We have a joint desire to see Afghanistan peaceful and prosperous,” said Rice, who was on a day-long visit to India.

Rice’s remarks underlined the growing comfort level between India and the US on cooperating in tackling terrorism in the region and further reinforced Washington’s recent shift in stance on involving New Delhi closely in what it sees as a common fight against the scourge.

The new equations were evident when President George W. Bush thanked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his advice and inputs on issues relating to the South Asian region when the two met in Washington last week.

In an unambiguous message to Pakistan, Mukherjee, keen not to miss the opportunity of Rice’s presence in New Delhi, underscored the importance of tackling terrorism in the region.

Alluding to Manmohan Singh’s meeting with Zardari on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York a week ago, Mukherjee said the Pakistan president had given an assurance that his country’s territory will not be allowed to be used for terrorist activities against India.

Alluding to the joint Sep 24 joint statement, Mukherjee underlined that Zardari had agreed to abide by the Jan 6, 2004 commitment not to allow territory in Pakistan to be used for terror activities against India.

“We have a joint anti-terror mechanism to deal with the issue. We hope the joint mechanism will be effective in dealing with the issue,” Mukherjee said.

India and Pakistan will hold a special meeting of the anti-terror mechanism later this month that will seek to address New Delhi’s concerns about Pakistan spy agency ISI’s alleged complicity in the July 7 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul.

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