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Chidambaram to discuss anti-terror cooperation in US

September 08, 2009 17:05 IST
Ways to strengthen Indo-United States anti-terrorism cooperation and Pakistan's inaction against perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks are among the issues likely to figure prominently in talks Union Home Minister P Chidambaram will have with top American officials during his four-day US visit that began on Tuesday.

Chidambaram, who arrived in New York on his maiden US trip as Home Minister, is expected to discuss with the Obama administration officials the unsatisfactory response from Pakistan on taking action against the perpetrators of 26/11 attacks and prevention of the Pakistani soil against terrorist activities in India.

Besides, a wide range of issues related to anti-terrorism cooperation between the two countries are likely to figure during his talks.

Anti-terrorism cooperation between India and the US is one of the key pillars of bilateral ties identified by the Obama administration as was reflected during the visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Mumbai and New Delhi in July.

Chidambaram would be in New York and Washington during his four-day trip, during which he is scheduled to have a first hand experience of the steps being taken by the US to prevent any terror strike.

A key portion of his New York-leg of the trip would be an interaction with the Police Department, which has not only reinforced its anti-terror force, but also taken a series of measures in the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks last year to prevent any mass-level terror strike.

While in Washington, Chidambaram is scheduled to meet several top officials of the Obama administration, including his counterpart Janet Napolitano; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Attorney General Eric H Holder.

Besides Pakistan topping his agenda, the home minister is expected to share with the US the anti-terrorism steps being taken by New Delhi and would have discussions about the situation in South Asia.

The home minister is also scheduled to meet the top US intelligence and security officials, including Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller and Director of National Intelligence Dennis C Blair; besides meeting National Security Adviser, Gen (Retd) James Jones at the White House.

A tour of the National Counter-terrorism Centre in Virginia is also on his itinerary. Besides meeting experts and think-tanks' members, Chidambaram is expected to hold talks with key US lawmakers, including Senator Joe Lieberman, Chairman, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; and Congressman Sylvester Reyes, Chairman, House Select Committee on Intelligence.

Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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