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Combating terror our number one challenge, says Hillary

Last updated on: July 20, 2009 15:06 IST

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday said there has been 'real will' on the part of Pakistan to tackle terrorism and that her country will enlist the help of India in fighting the menace.

"I have seen a real will on the part of Pakistan government to tackle terrorism. It is their government which is being attacked and people who are being mistreated," said Clinton while addressing students of the Delhi University.

She also said, "We have to look for ways to support those who oppose terror". Emphasising that combating terrorism is the 'number one' challenge, Clinton said the US will enlist the help of everyone including India. Acknowledging India's growing stature, she said the world wants to know where it was headed.

"Military strength does not define the greatness of a nation... Soft powers are more appealing," she said. Clinton also noted that the relationship between India and the US was growing day by day and wanted to use diplomatic tools to seek common ground.

Describing discussions with India on climate change as 'fruitful', US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "We understand the difficulties each of our countries face in trying to deal with climate change. So now let us see if we can find some creative solution".

No progress can be made unless "we have that very open dialogue," she said.

Referring to her discussions on climate change with Minister of State for Environment Jairam Ramesh, she said, "I had vigorous and fruitful discussions and exchanges with the minister of environment. I found it very helpful because unless people are honest towards one another...if we don't say here are our problems, what are your problems, are you really listening to me instead of just trying to dictate to me, we can't make progress," she said, adding, "we are very open to others' perspective".

Ramesh had asserted that New Delhi was 'simply not in a position' to accept any legally binding emission reductions and made it clear that India was not running away from responsibilities on the issue.

The US wants India to agree to limit its carbon emissions ahead of the signing of a new United Nations climate treaty in Copenhagen in December. Clinton said addressing climate change and economic growth can go hand in hand and sought India's cooperation in tackling poverty, terrorism, and proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

"We want more partners. We want more allies. We want people taking responsibility and sharing the burden, whether it is for eradicating poverty, climate change, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction," she said.

The Secretary of State said WMD, climate change, hunger, poverty are the global challenges that know no borders.

"Your government is committed to providing opportunities for women. India is right in giving due importance to healthcare and maternal care," she said, adding while doing so, the focus must be on poor women.

Observing that India was emerging as a global leader in the 21st century, Clinton said, the dynamism is palpable across the entire globe from the hi-tech zones in Hyderabad and Bangalore to the financial hub of Mumbai and modern malls and green buildings in Gurgaon.

"I believe this is one of the most exciting times for India and for our relationship and I am very grateful to be back here as US Secretary of State, representing our new president Obama and our country," she said.

"One of the reasons I am honoured to be here is because diplomacy must go beyond government and the age in which we live, we communicate at the speed of light and it is time for each of us individually to think about how we can be engaged in meeting these challenges at the local, regional, national and global levels," she said.