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US, India ask Pakistan to do more against terrorism

09 May, 2012

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NEW DELHI: Standing next to India's foreign minister, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Pakistan on Tuesday to do more to stamp out homegrown terrorism, in comments likely to please the Indian government but annoy Pakistani leaders.

Clinton was speaking a day after accusing Islamabad of foot-dragging in the case of Hafiz Saeed, blamed for masterminding the attack by gunmen on Mumbai in 2008.

"We look to the government of Pakistan to do more," Clinton told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna on Tuesday as she wrapped up an eight-day Asian trip that also took her to China and Bangladesh.

"It needs to make sure that its territory is not used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks anywhere, including inside of Pakistan, because the great unfortunate fact is that terrorists in Pakistan have killed more than 30,000 Pakistanis," she said.

Clinton said there was a need for wider vigilance against terrorist attacks, pointing to the discovery of a new plot linked to the Yemen-based group, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to attack an airliner with an improved "underwear bomb".

"The device did not appear to pose a threat to the public air service, but the plot itself indicates that these terrorists keep trying, they keep trying to devise more and more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people," she said.

Three of the top five militants on the US most-wanted list are believed to be in Pakistan, including al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Omar.

The Indian foreign minister joined Clinton in calling for Pakistan to get tougher on militants within its borders.

"Recent attacks in Kabul highlight once again the need for elimination of terrorist sanctuaries in the neighbourhood and the need for stronger action from Pakistan on terrorism, including on bringing to justice the perpetrators of (the) Mumbai terrorist attack," Krishna said.

Responding to Clinton's comments, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Pakistan's determination to fight militancy "cannot be doubted". " We have made numerous sacrifices that are unparalleled," spokesman Moazzam Ali Khan said.

The US ambassador to Afghanistan last month blamed an assault on embassies and parliament in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, whose fighters move freely across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and again demanded that Islamabad go after the group.

On Monday, Clinton also pressed Pakistan over the presence of the founder of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. Speaking in Kolkata on Monday, Clinton said she was "well aware" that Islamabad had not yet taken steps to help secure Saeed's conviction.

Clinton has also used her India visit to pressure New Delhi to further reduce its oil imports from Iran, which provided 12 percent of Indian imports last year.

End.

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