New Delhi: India’s quest for justice for the Mumbai terror strike has been boosted with the US announcing a bounty of $10 million for 26/11 mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed as both countries renewed their resolve to defeat terror sanctuaries inside Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The US Monday announced an award of up to $10 million for information leading to arrest and conviction of Saeed and $2 million for Hafiz Adbul Rahman Makki, under the Rewards for Justice programme.
In her talks Monday, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman had conveyed to Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai the US’ decision on two terrorists.
“The foreign secretary expressed India’s sincere appreciation for the additional US step to target Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed and Abdul Rahman Makki as well as the LeT,” the external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here Tuesday.
The US announcement “reflects the commitment of India and the US to bring perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice and continuing efforts to combat terrorism,” Akbaruddin added.
“It also sends a strong signal to LeT as also its members and patrons that the international community remains united in combating terrorism,” the spokesperson said.
Saeed, known in India for its virulent anti-India rhetoric and patronized by a section of the powerful military-dominated Pakistani establishment, has sharpened his tirade in recent months. India has been consistently pressing Pakistan to prosecute Saeed for his key role in the 26/11 terror carnage, but Pakistan has tender to shelter behind legal subterfuge, saying there is no evidence against him.
During the talks between Mathai and Sherman, the two sides sought to step up collaboration in dealing with terrorism emanating from India’s neighbourhood.
“The two sides agree that all terrorist organisations, including LeT, should be defeated and have called for elimination of terrorist safe havens and infrastructure inside Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Akbaruddin said.
The talks between Mathai and Sherman have set the stage for the strategic dialogue between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington June where terrorism and AfPak issues are expected to figure prominently.