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May 08, 2012 at 04:43pm IST

India, US ask Pakistan to end terror sanctuaries

New Delhi: The issue of Pakistan not doing enough to eliminate terror sanctuaries was raised both by India and the US in the meeting between External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. After the meeting both Krishna and Hillary mounted more pressure on Pakistan to act against the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

While Hillary said that the US had reasons to believe that Lashkar-e-Toiba founder and Jamat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed was one of the principal architect of the ghastly terror strike, Krishna added that there was a Need for stronger action from Pakistan on terrorism and it must do more to bring to justice the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks.

"The US will continue to do everything to prevent terrorists from carrying out evil acts of violence. Pakistan should ensure its territories are not used as launching pad by terror groups for attacks both within and outside the country," said Hillary at the joint press conference.

"India wants elimination of terrorist sanctuaries in the neighbourhood and Pakistan to take necessary steps. There is a need for stronger action from Pakistan on terrorism, including bringing to justice the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks," Krishna said.

Beyond Pakistan, there seemed to be a mutual understanding over the issue of Iran. The US welcomed India's reduction in oil imports from Iran and echoing similar views Krishna said that it was not a source of discord between India and the US.

Krishna said both countries underlined the need for a peaceful settlement of Iran's nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations. He said this must be based on Iran's right as a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but it must also abide by its obligations as a non-weapon state.

Welcoming India's reduction in oil imports from Iran, Hillary reiterated that India must step up the pressure on Tehran. Her sentiment on Iran was echoed by Krishna who said that both the US and India want to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Krishna said, "Iran issue should be seen beyond the issue of Energy trade. It is not a source of discord between India and the US." "Any more reduction of Iranian oil imports by India will be based on commercial, financial and technical considerations," Krishna said.

Hillary promised bilateral cooperation on a spectrum of issues including trade, civil nuclear cooperation. She also emphasized that both nations need to jointly fight terror and must engage in dialogue over intelligence sharing and homeland security.

On Afghanistan, Krishna told Hillary that the recent terrorist attack in Kabul had highlighted "once again the need for elimination of terrorists and sanctuaries in the neighbourhood".

Krishna said India and the US continued to make "tangible progress" in all areas of cooperation. "We expressed the hope that our economic relationship would grow much faster and realise its enormous potential."

India also conveyed to the US its concern over difficulties in mobility of professionals from its IT companies and protectionist sentiments there.

The Indian minister added that there were "issues" on both sides. Krishna pointed out the difficulties faced by Indian IT companies in the US. He said India was committed to providing a level playing field to all US companies within the framework of national laws. "Our strategic consultation have a global character ... (due to) convergence of view."

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