US to help India counter Pakistan terror: Clinton

Washington, Jan 29 (IANS) Calling the fight against terrorism an "unfinished business", US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday said her country will improve its information sharing and law enforcement cooperation with India to deal with the terrorism threat from Pakistan.

Participating in what was described as a "Global Townterview" at the Newseum here, her last before she leaves office later this week, Clinton said she was of course not satisfied with Islamabad's efforts to deal with terrorism.

Clinton was asked if she was satisfied after the sentencing of David Coleman Headley, a key Mumbai attack plotter.

The secretary of state had personally approved a bounty of $10 million on the head of Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, and was aware that current Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was in Pakistan.

"We have been successful in capturing and eliminating a number of the most dangerous terrorists who have safe havens inside Pakistan," she said in response to a question from India during her 59th "townterview" with six TV networks from across the globe participating.

"We have continued to press the Pakistani government because of course terrorists inside Pakistan are first and foremost an ongoing threat to stability of Pakistan," she said.

"And they need to deal with it because of that as well as implications for India, Afghanistan, the US and elsewhere."

She said the efforts that both Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari have made to improve business, trade and commerce between the two countries also "helps create a more receptive environment for dealing for dealing with these serious threats".

"So of course I am not satisfied," she said recalling her comments during a similar townhall in Kolkata in May last year.

"I believe going after terrorism is an obligation of every country, everywhere, every sensible person. We can have disagreements but that cannot be an excuse any way for using violence or condoning violence," Clinton said.

"So we are on this job literally every single day and we will improve our information sharing and law enforcement cooperation with India and I think that will pay rich dividends in years to come," she said.

She also assured India that bringing the perpetrators of Mumbai terror attack remained one of America's top priorities.

"I think it's unfinished business. We are not in any way walking away from it," Clinton said.

She is leaving office, "but I can assure you and the Indian people that this remains one of our very highest priorities."

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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