US stands in solidarity with India, says Rice

Written by Political Bureau | Agencies | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 4 2008, 06:35am hrs
Rejecting Pakistans contention, the US on Wednesday said that there is need for direct and tough action by Islamabad even if the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks were non-state actors.

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 a press conference after discussions with external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee here.

Rice said that, The US stands in solidarity with India in leading this challenge in these testing and trying times. Pakistan needs to act with urgency and resolve and needs to cooperate fully and transparently.

Rice who is here on a day-long visit said, I have already sent a message and that message has been received favourably by Pakistan, which is that whatever these leads, people have to be brought to justice, she said when asked whether the US knew about the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks like the Lashkar-e-Taiba which now functions under different names in Pakistan.

Rice is expected to reinforce this message to the Pakistani leadership when she goes to Islamabad Thursday.

Perhaps we have some sense of what this is like, the sense of vulnerability, the questions that arise and the desire to make sure it does not happen again, she said.

The US secretary stressed, What has to happen is there has to be a real sense of transparency, real sense of action and real sense of urgency because these are extremists who have the same intention and same goal and that is to terrorise and send message to states around the world.

Adding, I dont want to go into what Pakistan may or may not do. I am going to take Pakistans stated commitment to get to bottom of this and make them know that they are enemies of Pakistan as well as India.

Underscoring US support to India in the fight against terrorism, Rice said, We have a great interest in bringing perpetrators to justice.

We have learnt a lot from 9/11 attacks. We are looking at what we can contribute and how to use leads. That has to be number one priority: try to prevent another terrorist attack, she said.

She also said that Pakistan has unequivocally said that it intends to cooperate in the probe into the Mumbai blasts. President Asif Ali Zardari has assured her that he will follow the leads wherever they go, Rice said.

The Pakistan governments response has been favourable, but they have to stick to what they say, Rice said.

Rices comments about Pakistan come soon after Zardari rejected Indias demand over handing over 20 most wanted fugitives from the Indian law - one of the three conditions New Delhi mentioned in its demarche to Islamabad over the Mumbai terror strikes.

Rice, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss Mumbai attacks, said that India is not alone in the fight against terrorism as the international community stands with it united and determined to defeat the scourge.

She said the response of Pakistan should one of cooperation in all responses, whether to India or to the international community.

Responding to a question, Rice said that, I think we should refrain from speculation on what Pakistan should do. Its time for everyone to cooperate, especially for Pakistan, and to do so transparently, she added.