US offers help to India; counter-terror officials keep watchNovember 27th, 2008 - 11:09 am ICT by IANS
Washington, Nov 27 (IANS) The US government convened counter-terrorism and intelligence officials and offered help to Indian authorities as President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama condemned Wednesday’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai.”President Bush offers his condolences to the Indian people and the families of the innocent civilians killed and injured in the attacks in Mumbai, India,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement late Wednesday.
“The United States condemns this terrorist attack and we will continue to stand with the people of India in this time of tragedy,” she said adding, Bush who had left for the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland for the Thanksgiving holiday “has been updated regularly.”
The National Security Council convened officials from counter-terrorism and intelligence agencies as well as the State and Defence Departments, Perino said
“The US government continues to monitor the situation, including the safety and security of our citizens, and stands ready to assist and support the Indian government,” she added.
The Justice Department said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was monitoring the situation closely and was prepared to offer assistance if Indian authorities asked for it but said it had not yet received such a request.
US President-elect Barack Obama, who takes office Jan 20, also condemned the attacks. “President-elect Obama strongly condemns today’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai,” Brooke Anderson, his spokesperson on national security, said in statement.
“These coordinated attacks on innocent civilians demonstrate the grave and urgent threat of terrorism,” she said. “The United States must continue to strengthen our partnerships with India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks.
“We stand with the people of India.”
An aide to Obama said the president-elect, who was at home in Chicago, had spoken to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to get a briefing on the situation and called India’s ambassador to the US Ronen Sen to express his condolences.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was closely monitoring the situation, according to a State Department official.
“The Secretary will be reaching out to officials at the US Embassy in New Delhi and at the consulate in Mumbai. She will be reaching out to Indian government officials as well. The situation on the ground is extremely fluid,” the official said.
The State Department has created a call center for Americans seeking any information on relatives or friends affected by the attacks. The number is 1-888-407-4747.
The Indian embassy has also set up a round the clock Control Room to respond to any query related to the terrorist attacks at Mumbai. The numbers are 202- 232- 2795 and 202-232-2796.