Barack Obama criticises Pakistan on terrorism fight

Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with students at St Xavier's College, Mumbai Mr Obama gave an impassioned defence of US policy in the region

Related Stories

US President Barack Obama has criticised the pace of Pakistan's fight against militants within its borders.

"Progress is not as quick as we'd like," said Mr Obama.

He was speaking in the Indian city of Mumbai on the second day of a 10-day Asian tour designed to boost US exports and create jobs.

Mr Obama called for dialogue between India and Pakistan, adding that India was the country with the biggest stake in Pakistan's success.

US support for Pakistan is one of the most sensitive issues Mr Obama faces during his visit, says the BBC's Mark Dummett in Delhi.

Many Indians think the US cannot be trusted as long as it continues to supply weapons to Pakistan's army, this country's "enemy number one", adds our correspondent.

No distractions needed

Answering questions from a gathered crowd of students at St Xavier's College, Mr Obama gave an impassioned defence of US policy in the region.

At the scene

Mr Obama fielded tricky questions on Pakistan, jihad and disappointing mid-term poll results from students at an open forum in the last event of his Mumbai visit before he headed to Delhi.

More than 300 students attended the open-air question and answer session at St Xavier's College, in which the US president answered six questions on various subjects.

Twenty-year-old Anam Ansari, a third year science student asked Mr Obama for his opinion on jihad, setting the tone for the rather scorching afternoon.

Afsheen Irani said she had planned to ask a question about education but changed her mind to ask about Pakistan "because I thought he had not spoken about this issue in this visit. It was a diplomatic answer. I had to be satisfied with what I got."

One student asked him why the US did not declare Pakistan a terrorist state.

"We will work with the Pakistani government in order to eradicate this extremism that we consider a cancer within the country that can potentially engulf the country," said Mr Obama.

He said that India would benefit the most from a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan, and that it did not need the distraction of instability in the region.

The US president said he hoped one day to see trust develop and dialogue begin between the nuclear-armed neighbours, which have fought three wars in the past 60 years.

"My hope is that over time, trust develops between the two countries, that dialogue begins, perhaps on less controversial issues, building up to more controversial issues," he said.

As India succeeded economically, he said, it did not want the distraction of insecurity and instability in the region.

Earlier in his visit, Mr Obama visited the scene of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, saying India and the US were united against terrorism.

Mr Obama's tour follows US mid-term elections that saw heavy losses for Democrats, seen in part as punishment for the US administration's inability to tackle high unemployment.

Before the trip, Mr Obama spoke of the need for greater US access to India markets as part of a drive to double US exports over the next five years and help revive the economy at home.

Trade between India and the US was worth about $40bn in 2008 - still significantly less than US trade with other partners like China and Europe.

Security is tight for Mr Obama's visit. Thousands of Indian and US security personnel are deployed and a US naval warship is on patrol in the waters off the coast of the city.

Later on his trip, Mr Obama will announce a "comprehensive partnership" including economic ties in Indonesia, attend a G20 summit of global economic powers in Seoul and participate in an Asia-Pacific economic forum in Yokohama, Japan.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More South Asia stories

RSS

Features

  • Alana Saarinen at pianoMum, Dad and Mum

    The girl with three biological parents


  • Polish and British flags alongside British roadsideWar debt

    Does the UK still feel a sense of obligation towards Poles?


  • Islamic State fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria (30 June 2014)Who backs IS?

    Where Islamic State finds support to become a formidable force


  • Bride and groom-to-be photographed underwaterWetted bliss

    Chinese couples told to smile, but please hold your breath


  • A ship is dismantled for scrap in the port city of Chittagong, BangladeshDangerous work

    Bangladesh's ship breakers face economic challenge


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.