Rice will discuss with India cooperation in fighting terror

December 3rd, 2008 - 12:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Dec 3 (IANS) Refraining from commenting on US president-elect Barack Obama’s remark implying that India has the sovereign right to go after terrorists, the US State Department has said all countries in the region need to cooperate to fight terrorism.The message that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is going to give to the Indians is “one of condolences to the Indian people and the Indian government for the attacks in Mumbai”, State Department spokesperson Robert Wood said Tuesday.

“She will also be expressing American solidarity with India at this time of tragedy,” he said when asked if Rice, who arrived in New Delhi Wednesday, would give India the same message as implied by Obama’s remark.

“With regard to what the president-elect said, I think his words speak for himself - speak for themselves,” said Wood referring to Obama’s remarks Monday that “sovereign nations obviously have a right to protect themselves”.

Obama, who had during the election campaign said that if there was irrefutable evidence of Al Qaeda leaders and training camps in Pakistan he would go after them with or without Pakistan’s permission, was responding to a question if India had that same right.

“The secretary views this as a time where all the countries in the region need to cooperate to fight terrorism,” Wood said.

“The attacks in Mumbai show that these terrorists can strike at will and we need to be prepared and do whatever is necessary to stop these types of attacks from happening. And she will be there to discuss with the Indian government how we can better cooperate in terms of this fight against extremism,” he said.

In reply to another question whether US was giving India a green light to strike terrorists based in Pakistan, Wood said: “We don’t give green lights to any countries-green or red lights to countries.”

“What we’re trying to do is - we’ve got a tragedy that took place in India. We want to work with the government of India and other players to do what we can to bring the culprits of these attacks to justice,” he added.

“We also want to move forward on trying to see what we can do together to try to prevent these types of attacks from happening again. That’s going to be the focus of the Secretary’s efforts when she is in India,” he said.

As for Pakistan, the US has told “the Pakistanis that it’s important that it focus its efforts on fighting terrorism in the tribal areas of the country. We’re very concerned about the level of activity going on there”.

“And Pakistan, as the secretary has said over the last couple of days needs to give its full, complete, and transparent cooperation with the investigation into the Mumbai attacks and to follow leads wherever they may go,” Wood added.

“Terrorism is a worldwide problem,” he said. “It’s not just centred in South Asia. It’s all around the world. And so it’s going to require a worldwide effort to counter it. And we want to be able to cut off financial links, other types of ties that these terrorist organisations have.”

Asked if a new global approach would include a new diplomatic effort to solve the Kashmir problem, Wood said: “I mean, Kashmir is an issue that is of great concern to the international community. There are other places around the world where we have great concerns.”

“And it’s going to take a global effort, no question. I don’t have a specific plan here for you at this point, but it is something that we will be discussing in terms of how we can, you know, strengthen our efforts to fight terrorism. And that diplomacy will continue to go on,” he said.

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