Mumbai terror brings shocked world leaders to India

December 28th, 2008 - 1:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon BrownNew Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) A host of foreign leaders, ministers and officials have descended on India in the one month since the Mumbai carnage - the first terrorist strike in the country that has triggered an unprecedented global outrage and sympathy.With 26 foreigners among the more than 170 killed in the Mumbai mayhem, the world reacted with horror as they saw it as an assault on the liberal, business-friendly values of a globalized world.

Amid fears of the South Asian region plunging into chaos at a time when India was emerging as a preferred place for doing business, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev were among the early visitors to the country, offering their diplomatic and political support in bringing the Mumbai attackers to justice.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, influential senators John Kerry and John McCain, a German minister and three ministers from the Muslim world came in quick succession to send a clear message that India was not alone in this fight against terror.

Barely six days after the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike, McCain, the Republican presidential candidate who lost to his Democratic rival Barack Obama, came to New Delhi in December with a personal message from US President George Bush pledging full cooperation to India in combating terrorism.

A day later, Rice arrived and sought to put an end to Pakistan’s camouflage by asking Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to take “urgent and transparent action” against “non-state actors”.

“There has to be direct and tough action. Non-state actors remain a matter of responsibility if it’s in your territory,” Rice said in a stern message to Pakistan, adding that the Mumbai attacks bore “the hallmarks of an Al Qaeda like operation”.

Besides two teams from the FBI, Admiral Mike Mullen, chief of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Mike McConnell, director of US National Intelligence, also visited India to get a sense of the Indian investigations into the Mumbai attacks and offer intelligence support to Indian officials in the probe. Israeli intelligence officials also visited India to probe the death of six Israelis killed in the attacks.

Medvedev was unstinting in his support for India, an old friend with whom Moscow signed a civilian nuclear deal Dec 5. With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his side, Medvedev said: “We remain ready to provide any assistance.” The two leaders also agreed to “cooperate actively to bring the perpetrators of “these barbaric acts to justice in India”.

A fortnight later, Medvedev sent his special representative Anatoly Safonov to hold talks with Indian officials on counter-terrorism as Moscow pledged support for attacking financing of terrorists.

Nine days later, Brown was in India Dec 14 with a no-nonsense message for Pakistan. Brown named Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group, as the perpetrator of the Mumbai massacre and bluntly told Pakistani leaders when he went to Islamabad on the same day that British intelligence agencies have traced two-thirds of the terrorist attacks in the world to Pakistan.

Kerry, a close aide of Obama and chairman of the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was in New Delhi on the same day, telling Indian journalists that the US will intensify pressure on Pakistan to bring the spy agency ISI under civilian control.

Germany sent its interior minister Wolfgang Schauble and Foreign Policy and Security Advisor Christoph Heusgen to India and offered support of the German elite force GSG9 in training anti-terror commandos.

The visit of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawai Bin Abdullah and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mehdi Akhondzadeh showed that the attack had shocked the Muslim world as well. Terrorism is a cancer that needs to be cut out and destroyed completely, the Saudi foreign minister said here Dec 26.

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