Mumbai: US President Barack Obama will discuss Pakistan in the context of regional security and counterterrorism in his speech to the Indian Parliament on Monday, a senior administration official said on Sunday.
“The president will definitely discuss Pakistan”, the official said, but declined to go further than that because he did not want to get ahead of the president’s remarks.
Obama drew criticism on Saturday after he paid tribute to victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks but made no reference in his remarks to India’s traditional foe Pakistan, which New Delhi blames for harbouring anti-India militants.
Pakistan-based militants killed 166 people in a 60-hour rampage through Mumbai, India’s financial hub, gunning down their victims at luxury hotels, a train station and a Jewish centre. India says elements in the Pakistan state were behind the attacks.
Indians want a strong statement against Pakistan for fostering militants, but Washington must tread a fine line between appeasing New Delhi and supporting Islamabad, an important US regional ally especially in the Afghanistan war.
Obama’s visit to Mumbai and New Delhi, the first legs of a 10-day Asian tour, has been hailed as moving the United States closer to India at a time when Washington is trying to revive a weak economy and gather support to pressure China on its currency.