WASHINGTON - India said Friday that the United States would allow its investigators to interview an American citizen linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
But Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna and other Indian officials could not say when that access might come or how many visits Indians would be given with David Coleman Headley, a former Philadelphian who pleaded guilty in March to scouting Mumbai before the attacks that left 166 dead. India blames Pakistani extremists for the attacks.
The comments came as U.S. and Indian officials wrapped up strategic high-level talks meant to ease Indians' fears that their country is slipping behind rivals China and Pakistan in U.S. foreign-policy priorities.
Headley has proven a sticking point in ties, and Krishna sounded a rare note of discord in this week's talks when he directly requested Thursday that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton allow access.
Clinton and the State Department have not publicly responded. The Justice Department also declined to comment Friday on Krishna's remarks.
Indian officials said U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. had assured them of access.
"How that is going to be accommodated, how it's going to be arranged within the legal framework of the United States is something which is being worked out," Krishna said at a news conference.
U.S. officials understand how much India wants to talk with Headley, Krishna said, but India must respect the U.S. judicial system as it waits for interviews.
The Obama administration tried to use this week's meetings to reassure India that it was an important player.