US offers assistance to India in Mumbai anti-terror operations

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New Delhi, Nov 29 (UNI) The United States today conveyed to India its readiness to send anti-terror experts to cooperate with the Indian authorities in 'any manner,'' including investigations, in the Mumbai anti-terrorism operations.

US Ambassador to India David C Mulford met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee here and made the offer on behalf of President George Bush.

Emerging from the meeting at South Block, which lasted 30 minutes, Mr Mulford told reporters that President Bush had given directions to offer cooperation to India.

''We will be doing it. The United States is very skilled in anti-terrorism operations. We are involved in anti-terrorism operations in the world. We are duty-bound to cooperate with the Indian authorities including in the investigation process,'' he said.

Asked if a team of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) would come to India, Mr Mulford said the US would cooperate in any manner.

''We will have our security people cooperate with India in any manner, including coming to India, for assistance,'' he said.

Describing the Mumbai incident as a ''terrible terrorist attack,'' in which a majority of the victims were Indians, the US envoy said this was the first time that Westerners, including US citizens, had been targetted.

Six US citizens had been killed in the attack, he said.

Mr Mulford also conveyed to Mr Mukherjee condolences and deep sympathies from President Bush and President-elect Barack Obama to the families of the victims.

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