Terrorists wanted to stir trouble between India, Pakistan: Rice

December 10th, 2008 - 11:08 am ICT by IANS  

TalibanWashington, Dec 10 (IANS) The first goal of Mumbai terror attackers was probably to stir up trouble between Pakistan and India because terrorists are undoubtedly unnerved by their increasingly good relations, according to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.”These terrorists are undoubtedly unnerved by the increasingly good relations between Pakistan and India, really going back before the civilian government” but certainly since President Asif Ali Zardari came into power, she said in an interview on CBS News Radio.

“In fact, the Pakistani foreign minister was actually in India for a strategic dialogue when this attack took place,” she noted.

“And so clearly, those who want to disrupt good relations between India and Pakistan were at root,” Rice said when asked if the terrorists who attacked Mumbai were trying to change what Pakistan does on a military level in the fight against the Taliban.

“It has the side benefit, of course, of making certain that Pakistan remains focused on the old conflict with India and Pakistan, which I believe can be resolved effectively between the parties, rather than on the real threat to Pakistan and Pakistan’s neighbours, which is the terrorist threat,” she added.

Asked if US analysts think that the Mumbai terrorist strike was, in part, to take pressure off Al Qaida, Rice said: “Well, I don’t know. We know that bad people tend to travel in the same circles.”

“Nobody is making a claim here that Al Qaida is responsible for these attacks or that perhaps they were even involved in them in any way, but ties between these kinds of groups are pretty common,” she said.

“But clearly, if Pakistan cannot focus on what is the real threat to Pakistan, which is the terrorist threat, and remains focused on a state-to-state threat that is beginning to subside, then it benefits the terrorists,” Rice said.

The top US diplomat believed that “the Pakistani Government understands that, the Pakistani military understands that. And this is a very important moment for Pakistan to respond, and that’s why we’re gratified that clearly some response has been made.”

Rice said in the follow-up to the events in Mumbai, the US “focused very closely, very heavily, when I was in the region on the need for Pakistan to act. These non-state actors clearly used Pakistani territory, and Pakistan therefore had a responsibility to act.”

She said she had also made it clear to the new Pakistani government “that we understood that this was a civilian government in Pakistan, a new civilian government that wants to do the right thing. And in fact, I believe they’ve begun to do some of the right things.”

Rice said US was still gathering reports about action taken by Pakistan. “We ‘re not yet able to confirm a lot of what we are reading about arrests and about action against the camps, but these are serious steps, and we are pleased at what appears to be a serious set of steps.”

Pakistan, she stressed “is doing this in its own interest as well, because Pakistan has suffered greatly from terrorism. And of course, President Zardari lost his great wife, Benazir Bhutto (former premier), to the terrorists.”

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