Washington: India has sought access to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative David Headley, the Mumbai terror attack convict now lodged in a US prison, as it insisted on bringing to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 assault.

India’s foreign secretary Sujatha Singh, who concluded her four-day US trip during which she met top American officials, strongly raised the issue of access to 52-year-old Headley by Indian intelligence agencies, sources said.

Remaining non-committal, the US officials said that they are working on it. But the US assured India that it would continue to push Pakistan to bring to justice those who were responsible for the 26/11 carnage that left 166 people, including six Americans, dead.

The US officials reiterated the views expressed by President Barack Obama when he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House in September.

Pakistani-American Headley and his accomplice Pakistani-Canadian Rana were sentenced to 35 years and 14 years respectively by a US court for their roles in the Mumbai attack and an abortive attack on a Danish newspaper. Though India had got access to Headley once, Indian investigators believe that if they could further quiz Headley and others, many hidden information could come to light.

Foreign Secretary Singh, who met secretary of state John Kerry and deputy secretary of state William Burns along with assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal, also discussed the situation in the region in particular Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“They are sensitive to our concerns. India-US strategic partnership is doing very well," officials said at the conclusion of Singh’s trip, during which the US sought Indian assistance in convincing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign the bilateral security agreement (BSA). Karzai is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi on Thursday.

Noting that India has welcomed the proposed US-Afghan BSA, the official said it is for the Afghan president to decide and for it to come to an understanding with the US. “We have always supported that and we will continue to do so," sources said, adding the US did seek India’s help on BSA. “We are looking at it and we would take a decision based on our capabilities," sources said when asked about the latest Afghan request to have military equipment’s from India.

State department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, told reporters that Kerry and Burns discussed ways to deepen the US-India strategic partnership and consult on regional issues. PTI

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