Ahmedabad: US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer on Tuesday asserted that America was not adopting double standards while dealing with 26/11 and 9/11, and said that both the countries have come closer since the attack.
“I respectfully and strongly disagree with you,” Roemer told reporters at the Gandhi Ashram here while answering a query on whether the US was adopting double standards on the issue.
“From 9/11 where we lost 3000 people, about 42 Indians, to 26/11 where scores of Indians were slaughtered by terrorists, including six Americans who died on that day, America and India especially over the past two years have come together to share intelligence, in unprecedented ways,” Roemer, who is on a day’s visit to the city, said here.
“US also shared David Headley and intelligence information related to him with agencies in India. We are working under directions of United States and India to help built capacity here in India, built forensic capabilities, the possibility of new national counter terrorism centre, share best practices and expertise, as to how to prevent the next terrorist attack,” Roemer, who recently resigned from the key diplomatic post, and is scheduled to leave the country in June, said.
He further said that the US, through FBI also helped India in getting Ajmal Kasab convicted for the Mumbai attacks.
“I think that the two countries have come together. They have also come together in so many other ways, like green partnerships, helping to addressing poverty, Afghanistan, on providing food stuff to Africa. US President also pledged his support for UN security Council seat for India,” Roemer said.
“This partnership continues to get closer and closer. It has a historic trajectory of global partnership to bring these countries closer in the future too,” he added.
On Pakistan, Roemer said that the US has been putting a great deal of pressure on Pakistan to go after safe heavens in that country to target al-Qaeda leadership and other terrorist groups that might threaten Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the US homelands.
“Individuals from the US government at the highest levels have been telling the government of Pakistan that you are a good partner, you are concentrating more on extremism, in your country, but you need to do more. You (Pakistan) need to not only target al-Qaeda, but also target Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET),” Roemer said.
The outgoing envoy said that the US in the last few weeks has decided to indict four more individuals with regard to the Headly case, who is an accused in 26/11 Mumbai attacks and a case is going on against him in the US.
“(To Know that) One of those men had connections and support from a certain organisation in Pakistan gives us great concern,” he added, without taking name of one Major Iqbal who was among the four reportedly charge sheeted by the US government in connection with the Headley case.
“You can see from those indictments and other activities that the targets that US and India share in terms of LeT and individuals being indicted, are more and more common,” Roemer said.
On sharing intelligence with India, the US Ambassador said that the commonalities and goals with regard to world security and intelligence sharing were very close between the US and India.
“I believe that there is very healthy, good, vibrant day to day, hour to hour and minute to minute intelligence sharing with the government of India. This occurred both prior to 26/11 and post the event,” he said.
He said that the sharing of intelligence has been taking place during the time of the Common Wealth Games, President Obama’s visit to India and during the ICC Cricket World Cup.
“This shows shoulder to shoulder cooperation between the two countries. This cooperation needs to go both ways. This partnership is strong, global in nature, and security partnership between the two countries on intelligence post 26/11 is extraordinarily strong,” Roemer said.