By Arun Kumar
Washington, Feb 9 (IANS) Following Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Coleman Headley’s testimony in a Mumbai court, the US has reiterated its commitment help India bring to justice those responsible for the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
The US Justice Department had made Headley now serving a 35-year sentence in Chicago, “available by video link to a court in Mumbai to provide his testimony on his involvement in the attack,” US State Department Spokesperson John Kirby told reporters here Monday.
“For our part, the United States has committed to doing all we can to assist the Government of India in pursuing every possible lead to bring to justice those responsible for that attack to the fullest extent permitted by US law,” he said.
“But this was a decision and this was an event set up and established by the Justice Department,” he said and the State department “wouldn’t have gotten involved in that.”
Kirby noted that the US has “a very strong relationship with India on a lot of levels, and law enforcement’s one of those.”
“Obviously, we’ll always look to try to improve our cooperation across all different aspects of the relationship,” he said declining to prejudge the “strategic value” of Headley’s testimony.
“Certainly it’s indicative of our commitment to making sure the perpetrators of that attack are brought to justice, and I think it’s indicative of a close relationship with India, again, in a law enforcement realm, but across all others as well,” Kirby said.
Asked if Headley will be freed from the Chicago jail following his testimony in the Mumbai case, he said it was an issue for the Justice Department to comment on.
Son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, Headley changed his birth name Daood Sayed Gilani at the behest of LeT to avoid suspicion for his five spying missions in Mumbai to scout targets for the attacks, which killed 168 people.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])