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Indian American task force meets US lawmakers

January 28, 2009

A group of 150 influential Indian American leaders met members of the new Obama [Images] administration and top Congressmen in Washington, DC on Thursday, demanding that pressure be built upon Pakistan to punish those responsible for carrying out the terrorist strikes in Mumbai on November 26 last year.

The group, known as the Indian American Task Force, comprises leaders from nine major national organizations and many more regional organizations spread across the US, representing over 2.5 million US citizens and permanent residents of Indian heritage living in the United States.

Mukesh Advani [Images], San Francisco-based Task Force joint coordinator, said: "We are here not simply to highlight terrorism directed against innocent civilians in India, but also because we believe that these developments in India represent a clear security challenge to the United States of America itself."

For the first time, these terrorists originating from Pakistan killed many foreigners living in India, including Jews and other citizens of the United States and United Kingdom.

"Americans, Britons and Jews living in or visiting India were specifically targeted," Advani added.

The Indian American Task Force believes that it is in America's own national security interest to ensure the elimination of terrorist training camps in Pakistan, the source of these attacks.

"We are not against Pakistan or the people of Pakistan," said New York-based Task Force Joint Coordinator Ram Narayanan.

"In fact, we are pleased that Pakistan now has a democratically elected civilian government and we are seeking ways to help Pakistan's civilian government to eradicate terrorism from its soil," he added.

"The IATF is seeking peaceful means through grass roots lobby work and dissemination of information to work with US lawmakers to find practical solutions to the volatile situation in South Asia following the Mumbai [Images] terrorist attacks. Our goal is to ensure that the interests of the United States and India are protected in the ongoing war against terrorism," added Narayanan.

Image: Congressman Jim McDermott addressing members of the task force.
Photograph: Paresh Gandhi

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