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'Dr Singh's restraint on tackling terror remarkable'

October 03, 2011 08:52 IST
United States Senator Mark Warner, the democratic co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, said Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and India's restraint in the face of continuing terrorist attacks is nothing short of remarkable and keeping with the best traditions of India.

In a question and answer session that followed his kick-off address to the third Brookings- Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Strategic Dialogue on US-India relations, he responded to the recent allegations of Pakistan-based Inter-Services Intelligence-supported terrorist groups attacking American troops and targets in India. "The Indian government in light of some of the not one, but multiple acts of aggression has acted with a level of restraint and class that is commensurate with the best traditions of India," he said.

According to him, India and the United States have both been victims of terror attacks, but India unfortunately, more recently and more repeatedly.

Warner said consequently, both countries "stand united in opposition to terrorist groups and are both equally disturbed over direct of indirect state-support by certain nations of terrorist activities."

He lauded the "beginnings of collaboration between the homeland security operations in the United States and the home office operations in India," and recalled Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's recent visit to India to launch a US-India Homeland Security Strategic Dialogue.

However, Warner said, simply launching such dialogues was not sufficient and added that "increased collaboration opportunities need to be higher."

He said, "I understand again, it's a sensitive issue in India in terms of an appropriate appreciation of India's long term policies in terms of autonomy," but also argued that this is a vital area of potential collaboration that needs to be pursued in the self-interests of both Washington and New Delhi.

Marshall Bouton, erstwhile president of the Asia Society and now head of the Chicago Council of World Affairs asked if a joint strategy on dealing with a failing Pakistan," could be envisaged. Warner dismissed this idea out of hand. He said, "The Pakistan relationship is clearly one of the most delicate in the world -- not just US-Pakistan."

Warner said that while "India has moved on to the world stage, Pakistan is still focused on a neighborhood battle But thinking that there will be the breakthrough and the next big transformative step would be around the Pakistan shellacking, that is doubtful."

Warner also reminded Bouton that the US-India nuclear deal, for all of the euphoria and the lofty announcements, was yet to be implemented. "There is a lot of work still to be done on the nuclear."

 

 

Aziz Haniffa in Washington DC