US President Barack Obama said on Sunday that Pakistan "can and must" take action against terror outfits that are using its soil to plan and perpetrate attacks. In an interview to PTI, he said the country must do this by "delegitimising, disrupting and dismantling" terror networks within its territory.
Obama called the terror attack on the Pathankot Indian Air Force base "another example of the inexcusable terrorism that India has endured for too long", and gave props to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for reaching out to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif after the attacks.
"Both leaders are advancing a dialogue on how to confront violent extremism and terrorism across the region," Obama told PTI in the interview in Washington.
"We join India in condemning the attack, saluting the Indians who fought to prevent more loss of life and extending our condolences to the victims and their families," he said, adding: "Tragedies like this also underscore why the US and India continue to be such close partners in fighting terrorism."
These remarks from the US president assumes significance in the backdrop of Indian authorities saying the action taken by Pakistan following the the attacks, including raids against terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, which India accuses of having carried out the Pathankot attack, was due to pressure from the US and India.
Speaking on the Indo-US ties, Obama said Modi reciprocated his enthusiasm for a stronger partnership, and "we have developed a friendship and close working relationship, including our conversations on the new secure lines between our offices."
Obama also said he believed Sharif recognised that insecurity in Pakistan is a threat to its own stability and that of the region.
After the December 2014 school massacre in Peshawar, he had vowed to target all militants, regardless of their agenda or affiliation, Obama said.
"That is the right policy. Since then, we have seen Pakistan take action against several specific groups. We have also seen continued terrorism inside Pakistan such as the recent attack on the university in north west Pakistan," he said of the attack on Bacha Khan University.
"Pakistan has an opportunity to show that it is serious about delegitimising, disrupting and dismantling terrorist networks. In the region and around the world, there must be zero tolerance for safe havens and terrorists must be brought to justice," he said.