Mumbai terror: US says Pakistan must show resolve and urgency (Lead)

December 3rd, 2008 - 7:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Underlining its solidarity with India in the wake of Mumbai’s terror strikes, the US Wednesday asked Pakistan to act “with resolve, urgency and transparency” on its pledge to eliminate terrorism and said it would help New Delhi in bringing the perpetrators to justice. “The US stands in solidarity with India in leading this challenge in these testing and trying times. Pakistan needs to act with urgency and resolve and needs to cooperate fully and transparently,” US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters here.

“That message has been delivered and will be delivered,” said Rice, who is on a daylong visit to the Indian capital. Rice will reinforce this message to the Pakistani leadership when she goes to Islamabad Thursday.

“Perhaps we have some sense of what this is like, the sense of vulnerability, the questions that arise and the desire to make sure it does not happen again,” she said.

“What has to happen is there has to be a real sense of transparency, real sense of action and real sense of urgency because these are extremists who have the same intention and same goal and that is to terrorise and send message to states around the world,” Rice stressed.

“That would be my message. I don’t want to go into what Pakistan may or may not do. I am going to take Pakistan’s stated commitment to get to bottom of this and make them know that they are enemies of Pakistan as well as India,” she added.

“I have already sent a message and that message has been received favourably by Pakistan, which is that whatever these leads, people have to be brought to justice,” she said when asked whether the US knew about the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks like the Lashkar-e-Taiba which now functions under different names in Pakistan.

“We have a great interest in bringing perpetrators to justice,” Rice said while offering “all help” to India in the aftermath of the Nov 26 terror strikes in Mumbai that killed 183 people, including six Americans.

Rice underlined that she would be sharing the US experience in dealing with terrorism post 9/11 when she meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherkee later in the day.

“We have learnt a lot from 9/11 attacks. We are looking at what we can contribute and how to use leads. That has to be number one priority: try to prevent another terrorist attack,” Rice said.

Aware of strong sensitivities in India over the alleged complicity of Pakistan-based terrorists in the Mumbai attacks, Rice said that Pakistan “has unequivocally said that it intends to cooperate” in the probe into the Mumbai blasts. President Asif Ali Zardari has assured her that he will follow the leads wherever they go, Rice said.

“The Pakistan government’s response has been favourable, but they have to stick to what they say,” Rice said.

Rice’s comments about Pakistan come soon after Zardari rejected India’s demand over handing over 20 most wanted fugitives from the Indian law - one of the three conditions New Delhi mentioned in its demarche to Islamabad over the Mumbai terror strikes.

Other Indian demands include banning militant outfits and dismantling terror camps in Pakistan. Islamabad has yet to respond, but has offered a joint probe - a move that has been spurned by New Delhi.

“I think we should refrain from speculation on what Pakistan should do,” Rice said in reply to a question.

“It’s time for everyone to cooperate, especially for Pakistan, and to do so transparently,” she added.

Short of directly accusing Al Qaeda, Rice underlined that the terror attacks in Mumbai resembled the kind of terrorism that is associated with the terrorist group that is blamed for the 9/11 attacks in the US.

“Whether there is a direct Al Qaeda hand or not, this is clearly the kind of terrorism in which Al Qaeda participates,” Rice said when asked whether the Mumbai attacks pointed towards al-Qaeda.

“This is not just terrorism in the general sense, but meant to send a strong message that people are not safe,” she added.

“It is not just a case of coming to any conclusions, although the US is engaged in information sharing and providing forensic help,” Rice maintained.

“It is important to go to the source to know what happens…to follow all the leads (there are),” she added.

Underscoring the need for targeting funding for terrorists which could reveal their identity and connections, Rice also struck a cautionary note about revealing sensitive information to the media that will play into the hands of terrorists.

“I respect the role of the media. But there is an important wall so that terrorists not know what we know,” she told reporters here.

“They (terrorists) are very quick to react when they have leads,” he said.

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