Clinton Says US, India United in Terror Fight

Posted July 19th, 2011 at 9:10 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States and India are united in fighting “violent extremist networks,” and that the two nations are increasingly working together on homeland security issues.

Her comments came Tuesday in the Indian capital, New Delhi, as she began two days of talks with Indian officials aimed at strengthening political and economic relations. She met Tuesday with Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, and was also scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Both Clinton and Krishna urged India's rival, Pakistan, to do more to eliminate terrorist safe-havens on its territory.

Clinton said the importance of confronting extremists was made even more clear after last week's triple bombings in India's financial hub, Mumbai, which killed 20 people and wounded more than 130 others.

Clinton said the United States was “encouraged” by renewed talks between India and Pakistan, and that the dialogue is the “most promising” approach for building confidence between the two nations.

Following the talks, India's foreign minister called for caution in the U.S. troop drawdown from Afghanistan, saying an abrupt withdrawal might undermine India's relationship with Afghanistan and allow a resurgence in Islamic extremism.

During her meetings, Clinton also stressed the need for stronger financial ties with the United States, calling for more open markets and increased sales of U.S. arms to India.

The secretary of state's visit is part of an ongoing U.S.-India strategic dialogue that began last year with talks in Washington.

Clinton said Tuesday the United States and India need to resolve issues related to a 2008 civil nuclear cooperation deal, which could open up business opportunities for U.S. nuclear energy companies in India.

On Wednesday, the secretary travels to India's southeastern city of Chennai, where she is scheduled to deliver a speech on the importance of U.S.-Indian relations and meet representatives of U.S. companies. She will be the first U.S. secretary of state to visit the city.