U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the grand opening ceremony of the new Caracol Industrial Park in Caracol, Haiti.
Days after American citizen David Coleman Headley was sentenced to 35 years in prison by a Chicago court, outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that bringing to justice the perpetrators of 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai remained one the “very highest priorities” of the U.S. Following Clinton’s remarks, India’s Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde Wednesday reiterated New Delhi's extradition demand of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed and other perpetrators of the ghastly attack.
Clinton's remarks were made in response to a query posed by an Indian journalist in a virtual "Global Town Hall" organized Tuesday. When queried if she was satisfied with the success she had in bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 to justice, Clinton said: "I think it is unfinished business that we are not in any way walking away from. I'm leaving office, but I can assure you and the Indian people this remains one of our very highest priorities."
Clinton is set to leave the State Department Feb. 1 and will be succeeded by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday.
Pointing out that Headley had undergone an intensive amount of investigation and interrogation by both Indian as well as American authorities, Clinton observed that his sentencing represented the punishment he deserved for his participation in the Mumbai attacks.
Insisting that Washington had been pressing the Pakistani government to take stringent action against militants holed-up inside Pakistan, Clinton indicated how apart from posing a threat to domestic stability, they also had “implications for India, Afghanistan, the United States and elsewhere.”
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Commending the improvements in the India-Pakistan bilateral ties, Clinton said the efforts by India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari had improved bilateral communication, business, trade and commerce and helped to create a “more receptive environment for dealing with these serious threats.”
“I believe going after terrorism is an obligation of every country everywhere, every sensible person. We can have disagreements, but they cannot be in any way using violence or condoning the use of violence," Clinton said.
India Continues To Press For Headley, Hafiz Saeed Extradition
Following Headley’s sentencing Jan. 24, the Indian government said it would like to extradite him to face trial in India, saying he deserved “harsher” punishment.
India's Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde remained firm on his extradition demand for Hafiz Saeed Wednesday stating that Islamabad must extradite 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed and other perpetrators of the attack to New Delhi.
Saeed, the founder of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, was arrested thrice by the Pakistani authorities but was set free on all occasions by a court due to lack of evidence.
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