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'US didn't pressurise India on dialogue with Pakistan'

July 17, 2009 19:34 IST
The United States has not pressurised India to return to the dialogue table with Pakistan, says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and added that she was "very impressed" with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's discussion with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in Egypt.

"No, not at all," said Clinton in an interview to CNN IBN while replying to a question on whether it was the US which was pressurising India to return to the dialogue table.

"I am impressed with Prime Minister Singh meeting both President Asif Ali Zardari and now with Prime Minister Gilani," she said.

This dialogue between India and Pakistan is certainly one that could only be pursued with the agreement and commitment of the two countries and the leaders, but of course United States is very supportive with steps that India might take towards any agreement that India and Pakistan might reach, she also said.

Clinton, who is arriving in Mumbai on Friday night, said,  "In fact, I think in the last few days there has been real commitment that was discussed between Gilani and Singh about the commitment of the Pakistan government to pursuing the Mumbai terrorists and their associated organisations who provide the training and the employment of terrorists....."

She also reiterated the Obama administration's commitment to the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement but said she would like to discuss with Indian leaders the ways to prevent the "proliferation of nuclear material and weapons to state and non-state actors that pose a threat to India, to the US and to the many countries around the world."

"Well of course we are committed to the civil nuclear agreement that was signed during the Bush administration. I hope to have some announcements about the continuing implementation of that agreement when I arrive in India...," she said.

"So of course there will be a very serious discussion that will begin with my visit and continue to our important strategic dialogue, but I think we share a common desire to make sure that we don't have irresponsible state and especially a non-state actor like a terrorist network acquiring weapons that we know should not be in their hands," Clinton said.

Expressing the US' concern about proliferation, she said the Obama administration is, as are other G-8 members, "very concerned about proliferation."

"The US is very committed to our nuclear agreement with India, but I want to hear from the Indian leaders what they believe would be the useful step that we could mutually pursue that would avoid the concern that I think we share about such material falling into the wrong hands," she said.

Besides holding talks on a broad comprehensive agenda with Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, Clinton will also call on the Prime Minister during her five-day India visit.

On the US House of Representatives passing a bill which imposes trade restrictions on countries which do not sign an emission cap, the Secretary of State said she was looking to have a discussion with Indian leaders as to how both countries could make the fight against climate change a "win-win" proposition.

"Certainly you will not hear from me or President Obama or our administration any desire to prevent the continuing development of India...," Clinton said but at the same time made it clear that the US understands the great threat posed by climate change to coastal countries like India.

Trying to dispel the perception that US was not doing enough to put pressure on Pakistan to bring to book those responsible for 26/11 terror attacks, she said, "We have engaged in very important ongoing discussion with the Pakistani forces, civilian government as well as the military about the importance of standing up against terrorists and extremists no matter who they are and where they might strike."

Remembering the "wonderful memories" from her previous trips to India, Clinton said "I am very pleased that I have the opportunity to take forward the commitment that my husband and then President had made 14 years ago."

"So it is a particular privilege for me to be in this position at this time to be coming to India and to be pursuing a deeper and broader relationship between our two countries," Clinton added.

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