U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice visited India and Pakistan last week in the wake of the November 26 terrorist attacks on Mumbai in which gunmen killed more than 170 people. Rice pledged U.S. support to India’s investigation of the attacks and emphasized the importance of cooperation in international counterterrorism efforts between India, the U.S., and Pakistan.
“I know that this is a very difficult time for the people of India, for the people of Mumbai, but I hope that it is a time also when you can feel the sense of solidarity and support that is there in the international community from your friends,” Rice said during a joint press conference with Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Kumar Mukherjee.
Rice declined to respond to accusations that the gunmen were linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Kashmir-based group on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations, stating she would not, “jump to any conclusions about who is responsible.” However, Rice said that the U.S. expects “all responsible nations to participate and cooperate in bringing these perpetrators to justice,” noting that “Pakistan has a special responsibility to do so.”
Rice also met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other top officials. Meanwhile, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and his security advisers in order to help coordinate security efforts and defuse regional tensions. U.S. security experts, including FBI forensics investigators, have been deployed to the region to support the investigation.
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