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Death to Kasab a result of fair legal process: US

Last updated on: May 12, 2010 09:06 IST

The death sentence awarded to Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, is a result of a fair and transparent judicial process of India, the United States has said.

"This (trial of Kasab) was part of an Indian legal proceeding. Obviously, we have encouraged India and at times, in the aftermath, we have assisted India with the investigation, but this was the result of an Indian fair and transparent legal process," said Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley.

"We have extensive cooperation with India on counterterrorism and that will certainly continue," Crowley said in response to a question at his daily press briefing on Tuesday.

Kasab, a Pakistani national, was awarded capital punishment on May 6 by a Mumbai special court. The court held him guilty of mass murder and waging war against India, by carrying out the terror strikes in November 2008. Kasab's death sentence has to be confirmed by the Bombay high court, where the matter would come up automatically.

However, this is not the end of road of Kasab as he still has the option to appeal against the judgement before the HC and subsequently the Supreme Court. He can also file a mercy petition before the President of India.

Meanwhile, the US also welcomed the resumption of peace talks between India and Pakistan, which begin in Islamabad between the foreign ministers of two countries in July, but said the pace and scope of it would depend entirely on them.

"We always welcome dialogue and better relations between India and Pakistan, but the pace, the scope and the character of that dialogue is obviously of the Indian and Pakistani governments to decide," Crowley said.

"But they do have some meetings coming up in the near future. We certainly welcome that dialogue," Crowley said, reiterating the traditional stand of the Obama administration that rules out any third-party mediation between the two South Asian neighbours.

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been encouraging both the countries to talk to each other and reduce the tension between them through talks.

Supporting India's view point, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia said last week that terrorism poses a major obstacle to the peace talks between the two countries and asked Pakistan to take action againstĀ  anti-India terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

"We have a strong relationship with India. We have a strong relationship with Pakistan. We have encouraged better relations between the two countries. But the nature of that relationship is ultimately up to them. They are neighbours," Crowley added.

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