U.S. presses for urgency, resolve

Rice urges India, Pakistan to cooperate in Mumbai investigation

December 04, 2008|By Mark Magnier and Laura King | Mark Magnier and Laura King,Los Angeles Times

MUMBAI, India -

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Pakistan and India yesterday to cooperate with "urgency and resolve" to catch and prosecute those behind last week's terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed more than 170 people and wounded hundreds.

As Rice met with Indian leaders in New Delhi, police in Mumbai discovered two bombs at the Chhatrapati Shivaji train station - nearly a week after they had been placed there by gunmen.

While searching through about 150 bags, which police thought had been left by the dozens of victims in the train station, an officer found a suspicious-looking bag and called the bomb squad, said Assistant Commissioner of Police Bapu Domre. Inside were two 8-pound bombs, which were removed and safely detonated, he said.

After the attacks, police found unexploded bombs at several of the other attack sites, including two luxury hotels and a Jewish center.

It was not immediately clear why the bags at the station were not examined earlier. The station, which serves hundreds of thousands of commuters, was declared safe and reopened hours after the attack.

In New Delhi, Rice leaned on Pakistan in particular amid growing suspicion that groups inside that country trained the militants and planned the efficiently executed operation that threw India's financial capital into chaos and kept security forces at bay for 60 hours.

"I have said that Pakistan needs to act with resolve and urgency and cooperate fully and transparently," Rice told reporters. "That message has been delivered and will be delivered to Pakistan."

While the United States would not "jump to conclusions" about who was responsible, she said, "this is clearly the kind of terrorism in which al-Qaida participates."

Even as Rice held talks in India, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spent the day meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and military officials.

Rice is expected to visit Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, today. In the talks, Mullen urged them to "investigate aggressively any and all possible ties to groups based in Pakistan," the statement said.

Analysts said the U.S. visits were designed to prevent a further deterioration in relations between the South Asian nations, something that might undermine the United States' broader war on terrorism.

"I have a sense it will work," Jawed Naqvi, a New Delhi-based correspondent with Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, said of the U.S. mediation. "After all, neither side want confrontation."

Pakistan appeared to dig in its heels on the question of handing over terrorist suspects wanted by India.

On Monday, the Indian government presented the Pakistani envoy in New Delhi with a list of about 20 names, including several leaders of the militant group Lashkar e-Taiba and a Mumbai crime boss, Dawood Ibrahim.

Zardari said in an interview broadcast yesterday that Pakistan would try any suspects itself - and only if India provides hard evidence of their involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

"If we had the proof, we would try them in our courts, we would try them in our land and we would sentence them," he said. Zardari also said he doubted Indian assertions that the sole captured gunman, who has been undergoing interrogation, is a Pakistani.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people massed on Mumbai's waterfront last night, wearing "I Love Mumbai" T-shirts, singing patriotic songs and holding up banners, some of which denounced Indian politicians for allowing the attacks to happen.

Several people also vented their anger at their neighbor, convinced it had a role in the attack. "Die Pakistan," said one slogan.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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