US calls Pakistan’s bluff, wants urgent action against terrorists (Second Intro Roundup)

December 4th, 2008 - 12:58 am ICT by IANS  

TalibanNew Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) India Wednesday said it will “act decisively” against the architects of the Mumbai terror strikes whose “controllers are in Pakistan” as the US called Islamabad’s bluff saying it must take “direct and tough action” even if the perpetrators are “non-state actors”. Toughening its posture against Pakistan, the US assured India that it expected Pakistan to cooperate “fully and urgently” with India in the probe of the brazen coordinated terror strikes in Mumbai, which bore the imprint of “an Al Qeada like” operation.

In the same breath, the US cautioned India against taking any step like launching a military strike against terrorist camps that could have “unintended consequences”, echoing Washington’s worries about the impact of an armed confrontation between India and Pakistan on its plan to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“The fact is, non-state actors perform from the confines of the state. There has to be direct and tough action (by Islamabad),” US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters at a joint press conference after talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

“Non-state actors remain a matter of responsibility if it’s in your territory,” Rice said in a no-nonsense message to Pakistan. She will be delivering this message to top Pakistan’s leaders when she meets them in Islamabad Thursday.

Rice was responding to a question on President Asif Ali Zardari’s remarks denying Pakistan’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks which, he said, were executed by the “stateless actors” who wanted to hold the “entire world hostage”.

These remarks were widely seen as a ploy to skirt action on terrorists based in its territory whom India holds responsible for the Nov 26 terror strikes.

“The investigation is still underway. It needs greater intelligence sharing among them (India-Pakistan),” Rice said.

Rice, on a day-long visit, also called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and expressed Washington’s solidarity with India in the wake of the strikes that killed 183 people including 22 foreigners, six Americans among them.

Rice desribed the strikes in Mumbai as “attacks at India and its integration with the world”. “I have spoken with the home minister, and we are looking at reforms in India. The US has experience in counter-terrorism. The special focus has to be on terror financing and intelligence sharing,” she said.

Offering full cooperation to India in probing the terror attacks, Rice asked Pakistan to be “transparent” in cooperating “fully and urgently” with India to bring the NOv 26 perpetrators to justice and underlined the need for global cooperation in fighting terrorism of this nature.

“Pakistan has to respond fully and urgently. I have noted that President Zardari has pledged support to India. We expect that the pledge will be fulfilled fully and completely,” Rice said while emphasizing that the probe should let “the leads go wherever they do” to get tothe bottom of these strikes.

“We expect all responsible nations to cooperate. Pakistan has a special responsibility to do so, fully, transparently and urgently,” she stressed.

“That message has been delivered and will be delivered to Pakistan,” she said, adding that the US was especially concerned about the killing of its citizens in the assault, and would work closely with India in catching the perpetrators.

Amid speculation about India using extreme options like a military strike, Rice, however, said in a bid to lower tensions in the region: “Any response has to be judged by its effectiveness and not create unintended consequences.”

Rice suggested that India should focus on preventing terror attacks and offered to share the US’ post 9/11 experiences in dealing with terrorism.

“The US and others have a lot to add. Everybody needs help. This is not a matter any country can deal with it alone,” Rice said while calling for a global response to international terrorism.

India reinforced its earlier claim that it believes “without doubt” that the perpetrators had come from Pakistan and demanded that their masters be arrested and brought to justice.

“The government of India is determined to act decisively to protect the territorial integrity of India and the right of our citizens to a peaceful life with all means at our disposal,” Mukherjee said.

“I informed Dr. (Condoleezza) Rice that there is no doubt the attacks were perpetrated by individuals who came from Pakistan and whose controllers are in Pakistan.

“This is an assessment widely shared by international community,” Mukherjee added.

Saying that he had briefed Rice on the demarche India served to Pakistan over the terror attacks, Mukherjee spoke about “our expectations of cooperation from them (Pakistan)” and demanded that the perpetrators of the attacks be “arrested and brought to justice”.

“We expect all friendly governments to ensure this happens,” Mukherjee added.

Pakistan has rejected India’s chief demand in the demarche about handing over 20 most wanted fugitives from the Indian law who are in Pakistan and are suspected to have hand in major terror strikes in India.

Mukherjee also conveyed to Rice “the feeling of anger and deep outrage in India following the attacks”.

He, however, did not reveal what course of action India will take if Pakistan failed to respond to its demarche.

“So far as the government of India is concerned, what action India will take depend on the response we get from Pakistan authorities,” Mukherjee said.

“Whatever the government thinks is necessary to protect its citizens, the government will do it,” he said while underlining for a global response to terrorism which he called “the biggest threat to world peace in post-Cold War world”.

Mukherjee noted that the Mumbai strikes were preceded by similar attacks in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and New Delhi in which almost 350 innocent lives were lost and 733 people were injured.

There is a design behind these attacks, Mukherjee said while stressing that their aim was to target “the developmental, scientific and economic ability of the country”.

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