Indians claim Obama cautioned Pakistan on ‘safe havens’

Giving twist to US president’s comments

NEW DELHI - Indian media on Friday highlighted Obama’s purported comments about alleged presence of ‘militant havens’ inside Pakistan.
The said comments were claimed to have been made as part of a comprehensive and broadbased interview, conducted by email, which is going to be published in the upcoming issue of Today magazine.
The Hindu citing the same interview reported on Friday that the US president has said those behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks should be brought to justice and that terrorist ‘safe havens’ in Pakistan are unacceptable. “I have made it clear that even as the US works with Pakistan to meet the threat of terrorism, safe havens within Pakistan are not acceptable,” Obama said.
The US president, ahead of his three-day visit to India, said the US has been relentless in its fight against terror. “We have deepened our cooperation against terrorism, and we work together to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,” he said about Pak-US successful cooperation on this count. Obama also said the people world over were horrified by the devastating attack on over 130 children in Peshawar. It was a “painful reminder that terrorists threaten us all”, he added.
“As President, I have made sure that the US has been unrelenting in its fight against terrorist groups — a fight in which Indians and Americans are united,” the US president said. Obama said both terror attacks on September 11 and the Mumbai attacks included victims of India and the US.
“On my previous visit to India, my first stop was the memorial at the Taj Hotel to pay my respects to the victims, meet with survivors and send a strong message to the Indian people that we stand together in defence of our security and our way of life,” he added.
Pakistan government decided on January 15 to freeze back accounts and restrict movement of leadership of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is led by Hafiz Saeed whom India accused of masterminding the Mumbai terror attack though it failed to provide Pakistan with any actionable proof against Saeed in this regard. The move was interpreted by many as a ban on the organisation.
Did Basit say JuD not banned?
India media also quoted Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit as saying that there was no ban on JuD but its accounts have been frozen and movement of its members restricted as per the United Nations resolution.
"We are proceeding strictly in accordance with UN resolution and Jamat's bank accounts have been frozen, there is a ban on travel abroad of its leadership. We are moving in accordance with whatever is required under the UN resolution. I do not see much else needs to be done,'' Mr. Basit was quoted as saying at ``India Today'' round table by PTI.
He also stated that the facilities of JuD have been taken over by the government of Pakistan. Answering a question about JuD chief Hafiz Saeed's arrest, Mr. Basit pointed out that the UN resolution does not state that such individuals be locked up.
``I will remind the audience that the resolution (UN) does not state that member states lock up such individuals,'' Mr. Basit said. Stating that there are no two views on implementation of the UN resolution, Mr. Basit said: ``Pakistan is now moving ahead without any distinction when it comes to terrorism. We are moving against firmly on all organisations that come under the purview." President Barack Obama was also quoted as saying that "the stars are aligned" to enable the United States and India to forge a global partnership in an interview published Friday ahead of his visit to New Delhi.
Obama, who begins an unprecedented second visit by a serving US president on Sunday, told India Today magazine that he hoped to make "concrete progress" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a range of issues.
But while outlining areas where the world's two biggest democracies share common goals, Obama put pressure on Modi to do more to help secure a global climate pact. "I firmly believe that the relationship between the United States and India can be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century," Obama said in the interview conducted by email.
"We're natural partners. As two great democracies, our strength is rooted in the power and potential of our citizens. As entrepreneurial societies, we're global leaders in innovation, science and technology... That's why, when I addressed the Indian Parliament on my last visit (in 2010), I outlined my vision for how we could become global partners meeting global challenges... I'd like to think that the stars are aligned to finally realise the vision I outlined."
While observers do not expect any major policy breakthroughs on the three-day trip, both sides say the invitation to Obama for Monday's Republic Day celebrations emphasises a new closeness in sometimes tetchy ties.
Modi was effectively blacklisted by the US until last February when it became clear he had a real prospect of winning elections against the ruling centre-left Congress party. The Hindu nationalist was chief minister of Gujarat when deadly communal violence erupted in 2002, leading him to be shunned by Washington and Europe. But since coming to power, Modi has displayed no ill feeling towards Washington with both countries keen to counterbalance the rise of China.
Climate change however has been a source of friction, with India insisting it will not sign any deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions that threatens its growth at UN climate talks in Paris in December. It has stuck to its guns even though China and the US have unveiled emissions pledges. India, which suffers regular electricity cuts, is heavily dependent on coal-fired power plants. Speaking to the NDTV network Thursday, India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the two sides had "different approaches to climate change".
Obama said, "I believe that part of being global partners means working together to meet one of the world's urgent challenges – climate change." He said, "Even as we recognise that our economies are at different stages of development, we can come together with other nations and achieve a strong global agreement this year in Paris to fight climate change."

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