US to find way to decide Indian request on Headley

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) India and the US will find an “appropriate” way to decide on New Delhi’s request for access to Mumbai attack plotter David Headley, US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said Friday.

Sherman, who separately met External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai ahead of Secretary of State John Kerry’s India visit, also said the US was hoping to welcome Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “at some point in the near future”.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde during his US visit, which ended May 22, had sought access to Headley and his accomplice Tahawwur Rana, who were sentenced by a Chicago court after being found guilty of terrorism charges.

Answering a media query on New Delhi’s request for access to Headley, Sherman said India and the US had held the bilateral Homeland Security Dialogue during Shinde’s visit.

“That is the channel, along with the Department of Justice to resolve this request. And I am sure both our governments will work through this in whatever way is appropriate,” she said.

The US official said she had had “very productive” meetings with Khurshid and Mathai and was slated to meet National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.

The meetings are to prepare for the bilateral strategic dialogue in late June that would see Kerry making his first visit to India after taking over.

Stating that Kerry was “very much looking forward” to his India visit, Sherman said both governments were working at all levels on a number of projects dealing with global economics, global strategic security, energy, climate change, people-to-people and regional cooperation.

Terming the depth and breadth of India-US relations as “extraordinary”, she said the US also was looking forward to the visit by Manmohan Singh – as “this is a strong, powerful relationship not only in the region but in the world”.

To a question on Afghanistan’s request for more security assistance from India, she said India is “a crucial and key player in the future security and development of Afghanistan, both bilaterally and regionally”.

Mentioning the development assistance by India in Afghanistan and engagement in regional dialogue forums, she said: “Anything will be positive when India is engaged.”

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