US promises India ‘full cooperation’ in dealing with Mumbai aftermath

December 3rd, 2008 - 10:43 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 3 (IANS) On a mission here to bring home the facts of the Mumbai terror attacks, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon has been promised Washington’s “full cooperation and support” for India as it deals with the aftermath of the carnage.Over the last two days, Menon had a series of meetings with top state department officials, several lawmakers on Capitol Hill and leaders of several think-tanks and influential opinion-makers.

“All the interlocutors expressed sympathy and support to the government and people of India in the context of the heinous terrorist attacks in Mumbai,” the Indian embassy said Tuesday. “Unequivocal condemnation of the incident and the need for the perpetrators to be held accountable was reiterated.”

“It was also indicated that there would be full cooperation and support at various levels, including government, from the US to India as it dealt with the consequences of the incident,” it said, without referring to any specific action.

Menon was on a mission to persuade the US to put pressure on Pakistan to come down heavily on terrororist groups on its soil amid reports that the Mumbai attackers were linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based terrorist group.

The Wall Street Journal Tuesday cited an unnamed US counter-terrorism official as saying that there were strong indications the Mumbai attackers were linked to LeT.

The only surviving attacker also told Indian police that a senior member of LeT planned last week’s assaults, and a satellite phone the terrorists left behind was used to call five Lashkar leaders, it said.

Menon’s meetings with Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, and extended discussions, including over lunch, with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Ambassador William Burns “covered a range of bilateral issues”, the embassy said.

The topics included “counter-terrorism cooperation, anti-piracy coordination, the India-US civil nuclear agreement, defence trade, space cooperation and furthering economic and investment relations between the two countries”, it said.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi called Menon to convey condolences.

On the Hill, Menon had meetings with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; Senator Christopher Dodd, top Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Senator Richard G. Lugar; and top Republican member for Subcommittee on Financial Institutions Senator Chuck Hagel.

He also had a conversation with Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Sub Committee on Near East and Central and South Asia in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“In every conversation, support and commitment was articulated to the transformed relationship, and desire expressed to sustain the momentum through the present transition in US, and beyond,” the embassy said.

“In meetings with several of the Senators, there were also discussions on the present international economic and financial situation, the new opportunities for cooperation following the successful conclusion of the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between India and the US, and issues related to energy security and climate change,” it added.

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