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Obama ‘fully supports’ India’s access to Headley

April 12, 2010

US President Barack Obama has assured Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he is “fully supportive” of India’s request for access to David Coleman Headely, a key plotter of 26/11 attacks, but indicated it may take time due to legal procedures.

“They are fully supportive of our access to Headley. They are working through their legal system,” India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told journalists here Sunday after 50-minute talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Obama on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit.

Manmohan Singh had raised the Headley issue in his talks with Obama at Blair House, the presidential guest house across the street from White House. This is the first time the issue has been raised at this level, brightening prospects of India getting direct access to Headley soon.

India wants to know from Headley details of the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s so-called “Karachi Project” – a terror mission to target select Indian cities. Headley, an American-Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, confessed to his role in plotting the 26/11 carnage in a plea bargain in Chicago court last month to avoid death penalty.

The 49-year-old Headley also admitted that he attended training camps in Pakistan operated by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on five separate occasions between 2002 and 2005.

The US’ perceived dilly-dallying on granting access to Headley has become a sore issue in India with the opposition parties raking it up to embarrass the government which is seen to have forged close relations with the US.

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