Press Conference
Robert O. Blake, Jr.
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
New Delhi, India
March 19, 2010

Assistant Secretary Blake: I had about an hour and a half talking with the joint secretaries at the Ministry of External Affairs about our common interests both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and also in Central Asia. We had a good series of discussions. And as you may know I’m going off to Afghanistan after this and then to Pakistan, so I wanted to have the chance to touch base with my counterparts here, and I think we again, as always, have a very strong convergence of interests on many of these issues, and so there were very good discussions.

Question: Good meeting?

Question: Mr. Blake, we would like to know whether India will be allowed access to David Coleman Headley at any stage?

Assistant Secretary Blake: That’s – yes, I think part of the plea bargain that you heard about was that Mr. Headley has agreed to cooperate fully in these investigations, so – but he will not be extradited to India, as you know. That was part of the agreement.

Question: But would it mean that we would be allowed access to him in the sense that can a team from India go and interrogate him?

Assistant Secretary Blake: You know, I don’t know the details because I’ve been out of the country while all this has been going on, but again I think you’ll have full access to all the information. And whether or not an Indian team itself could go I just can’t answer the question because I haven’t been in the United States during that period when all this was discussed. But I encourage you to be in touch with our Justice Department, which can provide the response to that.

Question: And what – as far as Pakistan is concerned, you see how things have been. It’s a blast a day kind of situation. The Indian foreign secretary was there and there are serious concerns about terror, I’m sure those were all sort of told to you by the various joint secretaries. Also the fact the arming of Pakistan is a concern to India. So were these issues – did these issues come up, and how does America see all these issues, terror and the arming of Pakistan?

Assistant Secretary Blake: Well, we think Pakistan has made important progress on the issue of terror, but that there’s still work to be done. As you know, they’ve taken some important steps, first in Swat, then in South Waziristan, and now most recently with the arrest of some of the Afghan Taliban. But we still think that there needs to be progress on LeT in particular. The Headley case, in our view, illustrates the increasing global scope and ambition of LeT, and therefore the need for all of our countries to take the LeT threat seriously and to cooperate with each other to see that it does not pose a threat to the citizens of our countries.
I’ll leave it right there. Thank you all very much.