Clinton asks India to back Pakistan’s efforts to combat terror

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : Two days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh talked tough with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hoped that India and the US will both support Pakistan’s efforts as it works to take on terrorists in its own country.

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The US, she told the US-India Business Council’s (USIBC) Synergies Summit here Wednesday, also welcomed a dialogue between India and Pakistan, but it was for the two countries to decide the pace, scope and character of the dialogue.

“Of course, we believe that India and Pakistan actually face a number of common challenges, and we welcome a dialogue between them,” Clinton said. “As we have said before, the pace, scope and character of that dialogue is something that Indian and Pakistani leaders will decide on their own terms and in their own time.”

“But as Pakistan now works to take on the challenge of terrorists in its own country, I am confident that India as well as the United States will support those efforts,” she said.

Clinton said India and the US “have a common interest in creating a stable, peaceful Afghanistan, where India is already providing $1.2 billion in assistance to facilitate reconstruction efforts.

“United States is committed to the task ahead in Afghanistan, and I hope India will continue its efforts there as well,” she said.

India already is a major player on the world stage, Clinton said “and we will look to cooperate with New Delhi as it shoulders the responsibilities that accompany its new position of global leadership.”

Manmohan Singh and Zardari met Tuesday on the sidelines of a regional summit in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg during which the Indian leader bluntly said that Islamabad should demonstrate concrete steps to rein in anti-Indian terrorists before their conciliation talks can resume.