US offers to share counter-terrorism expertise with India

December 8th, 2008 - 1:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 8 (IANS) The United States has offered to share with India its best practices since 9/11 as it restructures its response to counter-terrorism in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.”We have offered to share our experiences, our best practices since 9/11, when we have gone a long way to restructuring,” US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in interviews with US television networks Sunday.

“They were grateful for that offer,” she told CNN’s “Late Edition”. “I think they are going to accept that.”

While stating that Pakistan needs to take some concrete steps urgently, Rice noted: “Indians, too, were very focused on restructuring their own response to counter-terrorism because one has a sense, as they said, of stove-piping of information, inability to share information.”

Asked if US was willing to do the same with Pakistan, she said: “Well, we are sharing information and working with both Pakistan and India.”

“Pakistan needs to act. India and Pakistan need to cooperate. And I do believe that if that is done, we can both - they can bring the perpetrators to justice, but they can also prevent a follow-on attack, which has to be of concern.”

On Al Qaeda’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks, Rice said: “We don’t have any evidence of a direct link there, but I do think that we all know that there are links between these organisations.

“They tend to travel in the same circles. And the sophistication of this attack is what everyone is focused on.”

In reply to another question, Rice said: “It is very clear that Pakistan’s principal problem here is not India. The relationship is improving between Pakistan and India, but there are plenty of people who want to see that relationship blown up.”

“And the Pakistanis and the Indians need to continue or to get back on a course of cooperation.”

The Pakistani army, she said, is restructuring and does need to be restructured for different tasks. “But it’s not easy to move from the kind of army that Pakistan has had to one that is principally counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency.”

Asked if Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has complete control over all elements of his military and security intelligence services, Rice said: “This is an elected civilian government; it has a kind of legitimacy that a Pakistani government has not had since 1999.”

“And I believe that it is in actually a stronger position because of that to act.”

Asked to comment on a top Congressional panel’s The World at Risk Report suggesting that a weapon of mass destruction may be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013, Rice told ABC’s “This Week” that the US had worked very hard to secure stockpiles and materials in places like Russia.

“I can’t judge. I don’t think any of us can judge what might happen by 2013. But I can tell you that many steps that have been taken are working in the other direction,” she said, noting “the wrapping up of the A.Q. Khan network in Pakistan - a kind of rogue scientist who was a nuclear entrepreneur, selling materials across the world”.

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