US offers India package on terrorism post Mumbai attacks

December 20th, 2008 - 12:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 19 (IANS) The US is working on a package for India on dealing with the situation in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks for which a Pakistan-based terror group has been blamed, a top military commander has said.The proposed package to India would “help them understand some of the lessons that we very painfully learned in the wake of our Sep 11 attacks, in information sharing, collaboration and cooperation”, Admiral Timothy Keating, the head of the US Pacific Command, said.

“And I expressed our willingness to provide that to India in my conversations with Indian leaders,” he said at a media briefing here on “Asia-Pacific US Military Overview”.

The US response to “the position of India and Pakistan following the horrific attacks on Mumbai” will be one of the main topics of an upcoming conversation he would have with General David Petraeus, head of the US Central Command, Keating said.

“The US Pacific Command is working closely with Central Command and with the Department of State, Office of the Secretary of Defence and the intelligence agencies to make sure we are as fully apprised, as fully aware of developments in that particular part of the world as we can be, and I’m satisfied that we are,” he said.

“But the most important thing is the horrific nature of the attacks, the very calm measured response demonstrated by India thus far,” he said when asked for his assessment of relations between Pakistan and India in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.

He also expressed the hope “that all throughout our region in particular and all throughout the world, folks will understand that the struggle against violent extremists continues to this day”, the commander said.

“Mumbai is just the latest place where the innocent victims number in the hundreds. And it remains our foremost objective in the Asia-Pacific Region to deter and prevent those kinds of attacks,” Keating said.

The admiral said he had “been in contact with our ambassador in India, with Indian military leaders, and am grateful for the very measured response that India has demonstrated”.

“We have not done anything significantly different from the Pacific Command in terms of military presence or posture in the wake of the terrorist attacks,” he added.

Discussing the US Pacific Command’s strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, he said it “looks to mature the relationship with our strategic partner India as a leader on security cooperation”.

“Strengthening the bi-lateral military relationship with New Delhi is an important component of that evolution, as is the recently approved civilian nuclear cooperation agreement between the two governments,” Keating said.

Many challenges across the broader sub-region remain, however, including the legacy of powerful historic disputes that have complicated India-Pakistan relations and dominated US security concerns in this sub region, he said.

The region is characterised by a remarkable level of relative stability and continuity, Keating said but “there exist many traditional, emerging, and potential challenges that threaten to undermine stability”.

These include trans-national violent extremism that promotes disorder, disrupts stability, and opposes freedom and State and non-state actors that sponsor terrorism, pursue nuclear technologies, proliferate weapons, and support illicit and criminal behaviour, he said.

According to the command’s assessment and predictive analysis, “India will remain a strategic partner and emerge as an increasingly important regional actor” even as “China will continue to improve its military capabilities and its economic and political influence will continue to grow”.

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