US to be “very active” in boosting India’s counter-terrorism capability

December 6th, 2008 - 10:56 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 6 (IANS) The US has promised India “very active” help to improve its counter-terrorism capabilities while asking Pakistan to act “urgently and transparently” to help catch the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror assaults and prevent future attacks.The “terrible sophisticated” terror attack “raises questions about the importance of making certain that everything is done to bring the perpetrators to justice, but also to prevent follow-on attacks,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.

“And in that regard, Pakistan has a special responsibility to act,” she said in Copenhagen, after a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whom she briefed about her talks with Indian and Pakistani leaders.

“And I was assured that they (Pakistanis) will act, but they need to act urgently and transparently,” Rice added according to the transcript released by the State Department.

“The Indian people who suffered a great loss also are acting through their government to improve their capabilities on the counter-terrorism side,” she said. “And the United States is going to be very active in helping them to do so.”

Rasmussen said as they “discussed the heinous terrorist attacks in India” Rice informed him about her recent talks in the region. “The attacks underline the continued need to stand together in the fight against terrorism,” he said. In Washington, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel acknowledged that India has a right to protect itself but stressed cooperation by all parties at this juncture.

Asked if India has a right to strike at terrorists inside Pakistan in view of a clear Pakistan link as reported by US media citing Indian and American intelligence officials, he said: “We have always said that countries have the right to protect their citizens, and they should.”

“What we are seeing now is we want to see cooperation by all the parties involved to make sure that we understand what happened last week.”

“I will let the assessments about what took place just last week, in terms of the terrorist attack in Mumbai, will let the experts in the intelligence community talk about those linkages,” he said.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, as well as Rice, he noted “have been travelling in the region to express our solidarity with the people of India, who have been victims of this attack,” Stanzel said.

“There are other, many other countries’ citizens who were impacted by this attack. We think it’s important to understand everything that occurred, to investigate fully what happened,” he added.

US had been working with “India and in Pakistan, countries like us that have seen the real negative impact and the threat of terrorism over the years,” Stanzel said. “We have to work together to make sure that we take on and tackle those challenges and confront the terrorists where they are.”

State Department spokesman Robert Wood declined comment on reports that the US has submitted to the UN Security Council names of some Pakistani individuals who it would like to see added to the UN terrorist sanction list.

“I’m not going to comment on, you know, names that we may or may not submit to the UN. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to do at this point, but you know, should we take that step, we will certainly let you all know.”

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