Rice arrives to ease Indo-Pak tussle over Mumbai attacks

Rice arrives to ease Indo-Pak tussle over Mumbai attacks

Mumbai: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday in Washington’s effort to ease tensions in the region after a three-day terrorist attack that left 171 people dead in Mumbai.

Rice, America’s top diplomat, she is to meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other top officials. US officials have pointed the finger at Pakistani-based groups in the attacks and have pressured Islamabad to cooperate in the investigation.

As evidence of the militants’ links to Pakistan mounted, Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Ghafoor said on Tuesday that ex-Pakistani army officers trained the group some for up to 18 months and that they set out by boat from the Pakistani port of Karachi. He denied reports that the men had been planning to escape from Mumbai after their rampage.

“It appears that it was a suicide attack," Ghafoor said, providing no other details about when the gunmen left Karachi, or when they hijacked the trawler.

The revelations came as a senior Bush administration official said India had received a warning from the United States that militants were plotting a waterborne assault on Mumbai. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of intelligence information, would not elaborate on the timing or details of the US warning.

The Indian government is already facing intense public accusations of security and intelligence failures after suspected Muslim militants carried out the 60-hour siege across Mumbai last week.

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee also said his country gave a list of about 20 people including India’s most-wanted man to Pakistan’s high commissioner to New Delhi on Monday.

India stepped up the pressure on its neighbor after interrogating the only surviving attacker, who told police that he and the other nine gunmen had trained for months in camps in Pakistan operated by the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

India has demanded action from Islamabad and summoned Pakistan’s high commissioner to India on Monday night, giving him a list of “those persons who are settled in Pakistan and who are fugitives of Indian law," said the Indian foreign minister, Mukherjee.

India presented Islamabad with a similar list after the 2001 attack on India’s parliament. But while tensions then between the nuclear-armed nations escalated so rapidly that many feared imminent war, the talk this time has been more subdued.