Washington, Oct. 30 (PTI): Assistant secretary of state Christina Rocca has described India as a victim of terrorism and said Pakistan needs to “redouble” efforts to curb cross-border infiltration even as she blamed the neighbours for the impasse on Kashmir.
Testifying before a house committee on Asia and the Pacific and international terrorism yesterday, the US official tried to put India and Pakistan on the same boat, drawing sharp criticism from chairman of the sub-committee on Asia and the Pacific James A. Leach and other Congressmen. “It is self-evident that Pakistan is a vital linchpin in the campaign against terrorism…. Nonetheless, many of us remain concerned that more needs to be done to ensure that Pakistani military and intelligence forces are fully committed to preventing jihadis from carrying out their grievous attacks in Afghanistan and Kashmir,” Leach said.
Counter-terrorism expert B. Raman, a former official of the Research and Analysis Wing and a panellist on the sub-committee, underlined the danger of terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
Rocca said India was a “victim of terrorism, with a tragic attack on its Parliament in December 2001 and (the) more recent bombing in Mumbai earlier this year that killed more than 50”.
Holding both India and Pakistan — whom Rocca described as close US allies — responsible for the Kashmir imbroglio, she said the US policy was to “encourage both countries to sit down and resolve their differences”.
Rocca termed as “excellent” Pakistan’s cooperation in counter-terrorism since September 11, 2001, and said Washington looks to Islamabad to do everything in its power to prevent extremist groups operating on its soil from crossing the Line of Control in Kashmir. “The government of Pakistan has taken many steps to curb infiltration but we are asking it to redouble its efforts.”
Rocca said the US was working closely with both India and Pakistan to stamp out terrorism. “(The) Increasingly intensive Indo-US counter-terrorism cooperation,” she said, “reflects the closer relations that the United States seeks across the board with India.”
The US official heaped praise on the Pakistan government for its “enormous” support to capture the remnants of al Qaida and the Taliban.