With tensions heightened between India and
Pakistan, the top American envoy is calling for Islamabad to show its resolve
and to join the international effort to find those responsible for the Mumbai
terror attack. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in the Indian capital
to meet with top government officials. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports
from New Delhi.
reporters at the American Embassy before her meetings with the Indian prime
minister, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice directed much of her message
"We have to act with urgency. We have to act with
resolve," said Rice. "And, I have said that Pakistan needs to act with resolve
and urgency and cooperate fully and transparently."
Rice says that
message will be delivered again to Pakistan. She is expected to fly to Islamabad
Thursday, as part of her altered itinerary that saw her detour from Europe to
South Asia, after last week's attack by terrorists on Mumbai.
some U.S. officials suspect involvement of the Pakistan-based Lashkar e-Taiba,
Secretary Rice says it is premature to draw any conclusions on who is
responsible. But she notes the assault on India's commercial capital resembles
the type of attacks staged by al Qaida.
"Where there is a direct al Qaida
hand or not, this is clearly a kind of terrorism in which al Qaida
participates," she said.
India blames the attack on 10 gunmen who came
by sea from Pakistan, heavily armed with automatic weapons and hand grenades.
They killed about 175 people during a 60-hour siege.
The United States
and other countries are concerned that the attack could wreck the Indo-Pakistani
peace process that has been underway in recent years. The nuclear-armed
countries have gone to war against each other three times.
A number of
other prominent Americans have come to the region to hold talks with Indian and
Pakistani officials. They include three senior American senators and the
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.
an election campaign rally Thursday, the chairperson of India's governing United
Progressive Alliance, Sonia Gandhi, issued a new warning to Islamabad about
limits to India's patience, as it awaits a favorable from Pakistan.
widow of slain Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi says India's neighbors should not
make the wrong assumption that its desire for friendly relations is a sign of
weakness. Speaking in India-controlled Kashmir, the powerful Congress Party
leader added India will not bow down to terrorists, but rather will demonstrate
what she calls a "fitting reply."
The rhetoric comes amid opposition
party criticism that the government is soft on terrorism and failed to improve
intelligence and security that could have prevented a wave of bombings this
year, mostly blamed on Muslim militants.