New Delhi: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended Sunday Pakistan’s commitment to fighting terrorism, while warning that the perpetrators of last year’s Mumbai attacks must be brought to justice.
“We believe there is a commitment to fighting terrorism that permeates the entire (Pakistan) government,” Clinton said in New Delhi during her first trip to India as Washington’s top diplomat.
India suspended its peace dialogue with Pakistan after the attacks on its financial capital and insists that Islamabad has yet to take sufficient measures against those responsible to warrant a resumption of the process.
Pakistan is a key US ally in the fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda on its border with Afghanistan, and Washington has been wary of taking sides in the dispute over Islamabad’s handling of the Mumbai aftermath.
“We are certainly watching and expecting there will be justice and those who launched the horrific attacks in Mumbai will meet their day of reckoning,” Clinton said, without specifically mentioning Pakistan.
“Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and many other terrorist organisations are connected in a way that is deeply troubling to us and also to India,” she added.
India has blamed the Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people, on the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Pakistan has arrested five people suspected of involvement in the assault, including the alleged mastermind, Zakiduddin Lakhvi. Their trial is expected to begin in the next week.
Kicking off her India visit in Mumbai on Saturday, Clinton called for a global fight against terrorism.
“We expect every country to stand against the scourge of terrorism. This is not limited to any one country,” she said.
“Are we always satisfied with the response we get? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to give up trying,” she said, while again arguing that Pakistan was genuinely committed to the effort.
“We have seen an evolving commitment, not only by the Pakistan government, but also the Pakistani people... a recognition that terrorism within any country is a threat to that country,” she said.