Sovereign nations have the right to protect themselves, US president-elect Barack Obama said on Monday, when asked if India could follow the same policy he advocated during his election campaign — of bombing terrorist camps in Pakistan if there was actionable evidence and Islamabad refused to act on it.
Although Obama said he did not want to comment on the specific situation involving India and Pakistan, his tacit endorsement of New Delhi adopting the same policy was circumscribed by two caveats: first, let the investigators reach definite conclusions about the Mumbai carnage, and second, see if Pakistan will follow through with its commitment to cooperate in eliminating terrorism.
Obama said his administration would remain steadfast in support of India’s effort to catch perpetrators and bring them to justice and he expected the world community would feel the same way.
In fact, Obama disclosed that the Mumbai massacre topped the agenda of the new national security team at its first meeting Monday morning.
The president-elect referred repeatedly to the tragedy at his press conference and said he had spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to tell him that the United States is with India in this dark hour.