US to work with India to bring Mumbai masterminds to justice: Kerry

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 17 2008, 04:32am hrs
Backing international pressure on Pakistan, US Senator John Kerry in his meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday reaffirmed American determination to work with India in bringing the Mumbai terror masterminds to book.

Kerry conveyed president-elect Barack Obama's message about the US intention to keep pressuring Pakistan in order to eliminate the terrorist infrastructure in that country,

In the strongest possible message to Pakistan from the US, Kerry asked Islamabad to shut down all terrorist-training camps, take steps to deal with terrorists who kill civilians and ensure that the ISI did not make its own choices.

Talking to the mediapersons here today after meetings with Singh and Mukherjee, Kerry described Mumbai terror attack as a turning point which calls for a new era of cooperation against terrorism.

We all know it was planned. It was planned over a period of time. We all know they (Mumbai attackers) came from Pakistan and we understand the training that took place in that regard. So, there is strong evidence, he said.

Kerry who will be traveling to Islamabad from here said that, I believe it is imperative for those camps to be shut down. I think it is imperative for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) to be taken on, the top leaders and anybody who is implicated in this attack needs to be properly prosecuted. It seems to me that is the real measure and the test here.

While refusing to elaborate on the evidence, he said it will be inappropriate now as India as also Pakistan are in the process of gathering that information.

He also said that the lesson of the Mumbai incident was that the behaviour (against terrorism) had now to be different and all needed to cooperate.

Asserting that such incidents made it absolutely impossible to conduct business as usual, Kerry said there was a need for Pakistan to respond and all had a shared responsibility.

The tough message from Senator Kerry, who will be chairperson of the Senate Committee for Foreign Relations in the Obama administration, also assuaged India's concerns following Obama's remarks about appointing a special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir saying the US had no intention of intervening in a bilateral dispute.