Home Minister P. Chidambaram Friday complimented the US for bringing the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack to justice in the ongoing trial of key plotter Pakistan-born Tahawwur Rana.
As top Indian and American officials meet here for their first internal security dialogue aimed at stepping up counter-terror cooperation, Chidambaram, during his meeting with US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, mentioned about the Mumbai attack trial in a Chicago court.
Rana's one-time friend and another key conspirator David Coleman Headley, during the trial, has revealed the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency's role in the Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans, in three days of mayhem in Novermber 2008.
“Certainly, US political support and operational cooperation during and after the Mumbai attack meant a great deal to the people of India. We appreciate the US efforts to bring the perpetrators of Mumbai terror attack, and others associated with it, to justice,” the home minister said.
He also mentioned about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama calling for Islamabad to bring to justice the Pakistani perpetrators of the Mumbai attack.
Napolitano, who arrived in India Tuesday, and Chidambaram jointly launched the US-India homeland security dialogue here that comes less than a month after the killing in Pakistan of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden by US special forces.
Chidambaram said one of the key elements of the India-US relationship was “our engagement on the issue of terrorism and on counter-terrorism cooperation”.
He said there has always been great public and political expectation about India-US cooperation on counter-terrorism.
“This is because of our shared values, the growth of strategic partnership between our two countries, US expertise and capabilities, and the perception in India that the US exercises a strong influence on the country (Pakistan) that is the hub of global terror.”
India and the US established their joint working group on counter-terrorism in February 2000. The two countries signed a counter-terrorism cooperation agreement in July 2010.
The dialogue is part of the new India-US strategic ties and is expected to lay the foundation for increasing "communication and information-sharing between the US and India on counter-terrorism and other issues that affect security", a home ministry official said.
The agenda for the day-long meeting - which takes place as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is visiting Islamabad - is expected to discuss among other issues the May 2 killing of Osama, who was found living in a house close to a military academy in Pakistan's Abbottabad garrison town.
India is fearing attacks by Pakistani terrorists following Osama's killing and has stepped up security in major cities.