Bush pledges full US support to “strong and resilient” India

November 30th, 2008 - 9:33 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 30 (IANS) President George Bush has pledged the full support of the United States as India investigates the Mumbai terror attacks, saying the world’s largest democracy can count on the world’s oldest democracy to stand by its side.”The killers who struck this week are brutal and violent, but terror will not have the final word,” Bush said in a brief statement on the White House lawn Saturday afternoon on his return from Camp David presidential retreat after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“People of India are resilient. People of India are strong. They have built a vibrant, multiethnic democracy that can withstand this trial. Their financial capital of Mumbai will continue to be the centre of commerce and prosperity,” he said.

Before leaving Camp David in the mountains of Maryland, Bush held an hour-long video-teleconference Saturday on the Mumbai terror attacks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, US Ambassador to India David Mulford, US Consul General Paul Folmsbee in Mumbai, and several others on the national security team.

“We reviewed the latest developments, and we are working to ensure that American citizens in India are safe,” Bush said, adding that he kept President-Elect Barack Obama informed since the attack began Wednesday.

“We pledge the full support of the United States as India investigates these attacks, brings the guilty to justice and sustains its democratic way of life,” Bush said. “The leaders of India can know that nations around the world support them in the face of this assault on human dignity.”

Bush took no questions, concluding: “And as the people of the world’s largest democracy recover from these attacks, they can count on the people of the world’s oldest democracy to stand by their side. May God bless the people of India.”

With First Lady Laura Bush standing on his side, he said:”On behalf of all Americans, Laura and I extend our condolences to those suffering from the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. We mourn those who lost their lives, including American citizens. We pray that the injured will recover.”

Earlier, Obama called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday night to offer condolences and support in India’s hour of crisis.

Obama, who is monitoring the situation from his home in Chicago, too praised India’s resilience, saying, “These terrorists who targeted innocent civilians will not defeat India’s great democracy, nor shake the will of a global coalition to defeat them.”

“The United States must stand with India and all nations and people who are committed to destroying terrorist networks, and defeating their hate-filled ideology,” he added.

FBI agents were reported to be on their way to India Saturday. A second group of investigators was on alert to join the first team if necessary.

“The FBI continues to monitor the situation in Mumbai and the Counterterrorism Division is reviewing all of the information and intelligence available,” bureau spokesman Richard Kolko said.

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