Mumbai terror: US calls Pakistan’s bluff, India says will act decisively (Intro Roundup)

December 4th, 2008 - 12:04 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) India Wednesday said it will “act decisively” against the architects of the Mumbai terror strikes whose “controllers are in Pakistan”, and the US called Islamabad’s bluff, saying it can’t shirk responsibility by blaming “non-state actors” for terror strikes in the region. “Non-state actors operate within confines of the state. There has to be very direct and tough action against them,” US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters here Wednesday evening. Rice was on a day’s visit here to express Washington’s solidarity with India in the wake of the Mumbai strikes.

Rice was responding to a question on Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s remark that Pakistan does not have control over non-state actors - a remark that was widely seen in India as a ploy to skirt action against terrorists based in its territory and whom India holds responsible for the Nov 26 Mumbai terror strikes.

“Non-state actors remain a matter of responsibility if it’s in your territory,” Rice said in a pointed message to Pakistan. She will be delivering this message to top Pakistanii leaders when she meets them in Islamabad Thursday.

“The investigation is still underway. It needs greater intelligence sharing among them (India-Pakistan),” Rice said at a joint press conference after holding talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee that focused on the Mumbai terror attacks.

Offering full cooperation to India in probing the terror attacks, Rice asked Pakistan to be “transparent” in cooperating “fully and urgently” with India to bring the perpetrators of the brazen Mumbai terror attack to justice and stressed the need for getting to the bottom of these attacks, which also killed 22 foreigners, including six Americans.

“Pakistan has to respond fully and urgently. I have noted that President Zardari has pledged support to India. We expect that the pledge will be fulfilled fully and completely,” Rice said.

India, on its part, reinforced its earlier claim saying that it believes “without doubt” that the perpetrators of the Mumbai blasts came from Pakistan and demanded that those behind them be arrested and brought to justice.

“The government of India is determined to act decisively to protect the territorial integrity of India and the right of our citizens to a peaceful life with all means at our disposal,” Mukherjee said.

“I informed Dr. (Condoleezza) Rice that there is no doubt the attacks were perpetrated by individuals who came from Pakistan and whose controllers are in Pakistan,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at the joint press conference.

“This is an assessment widely shared by international community,” Mukherjee added.

Saying that he had briefed Rice on the demarche India served to Pakistan over the Mumbai terror attacks, Mukherjee spoke about “our expectations of cooperation from them” (Pakistan) and demanded that the perpetrators of the attacks be “arrested and brought to justice”.

“We expect all friendly governments to ensure this happens,” Mukherjee added.

Pakistan has rejected India’s chief demand in the demarche about handing over 20 “most wanted” fugitives from Indian law who are in Pakistan and are suspected to have hand in major terror strikes in India.

Mukherjee said he had also conveyed to Rice “the feeling of anger and deep outrage in India following the attacks”.

He, however, did not reveal what course of action India would take if Pakistan failed to respond to its demarche.

“So far as the government of India is concerned, what action India will take depends on the response we get from the Pakistan authorities,” Mukherjee said.

“Whatever the government thinks is necessary to protect its citizens, the government will do it,” he said while underlining the need for a global response to terrorism which he termed “the biggest threat to world peace in the post-Cold War world.”

Mukherjee also pointed out that the Mumbai strikes were preceded by similar attacks in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi in which almost 350 innocent lives were lost and 733 other people were injured.

There is a design behind these attacks, Mukherjee said while stressing that the purpose of these attacks was to target “the developmental, scientific and economic ability of the country”.

Noting that Rice had “especially come to express the solidarity of the US in the wake of the heinous attack”, Mukherjee said: “We greatly appreciate this gesture and welcome it.”

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