US will pursue Mumbai probe for as long as it takes: Mulford (Lead)

January 9th, 2009 - 7:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) Days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Mumbai attack must have had the support of official agencies in Pakistan, the US Friday said it can’t “make accusations without proof” but underlined that it would “press ahead” to bring the perpetrators of the carnage to justice. “I don’t want to make accusations without proof,” US Ambassador David Mulford told reporters here when asked whether he suspected the involvement of Pakistan’s official agencies in the Nov 26 Mumbai carnage.

“It appears that it has been conducted by Pakistani people who have been trained in Pakistan. It appears to have been managed and monitored in Pakistan,” the US envoy said days after Pakistan officially admitted the nationality of Ajmal Kasab, the lone Mumbai attacker who is currently in Indian custody.

In a hard-hitting speech, Manmohan Singh had said Tuesday that “given the sophistication and military precision of the (Mumbai) attack it must have had the support of some official agencies in Pakistan”.

“We are pursuing the probe to bring the people who conducted these heinous acts to book. We will press ahead as long as it takes,” he said.

“It’s going to take time and patience but also considerable restraint,” Mulford said in a bid to ease simmering tensions between India and Pakistan over the Mumbai attacks.

He, however, said the civilian government in Pakistan needed to be supported as both India and the US had stakes in seeing Pakistan succeed and not end up as a failed state.

Calling terrorism a global phenomenon, the envoy said counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries was set to increase in the years to come.

“In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, we have learned first hand how much we both can benefit from stronger counter-terrorism cooperation, including law enforcement ties,” he said.

“The US has outstanding technology that was manifested post Mumbai when the FBI worked closely and in a fully transparent fashion with Indian law enforcement agencies,” he added.

Mulford, whose tenure starting January 2004 saw a dramatic transformation in India-US ties which was underscored by the clinching of a landmark nuclear deal last year, was speaking at a farewell function organised for him by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The US embassy Friday announced that his departure has been extended for a few weeks at the request of the incoming administration.

Recounting the landmark changes in India-US ties over the last four years, the envoy said the US has “successfully dehypehnated” its relationship with India from the one it has with Pakistan.

“This is a considerable accomplishment. When I came it was an obsessive situation when India was viewed in a regional prism and in the context of its relations with Pakistan,” he said.

Alluding to the successful completion of the India-US civil nuclear deal, which is seen as the centrepiece of a transformed relationship between the two countries, Mulford said: “India will now diversify and improve its energy base, it will be home to a vast new industry and become a world leader in the field of civil nuclear energy.”

“President Bush’s vision of India’s membership in the global nuclear regime and Prime Minister Singh’s embrace of that vision is the stuff of great nation historic enterprises,” he said.

“The US intends to be a major contributor to this historic enterprise, a welcome, valuable and fully competitive partner.”

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