Washington, Dec.2 : U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said both India and Pakistan share a common enemy, "because extremists in any form are obviously a threat to the Pakistanis as well as to the Indians".
Speaking to journalists while flying to London, from where she will depart for New Delhi on Wednesday, Rice said the US has maintained very close contact with Britain and co-operated very closely on issues concerning Pakistan and India.
She said President Bush had asked her to go to India to express "our sympathies with and our solidarity with the Indian people, and to express our absolute determination to help in any way that we can to help end this terrorist threat and to bring those who perpetrated this horrible crime to justice."
Asked whether in her view the Pakistani government was involved, given the sole surviving militant's reported statement that he was trained in Pakistan and was part of one of the two main Pakistani Muslim militant groups, Rice answered, "Well, what we're emphasising to the Pakistani government is the need to follow the evidence wherever it leads, and to do that in the most committed and firmest possible way."
"I've spoken with President Zardari. I've spoken with (Indian) Foreign Minister Mukherjee. (US National Security Adviser) Steve Hadley has spoken with his counterpart. And on all scores, the Pakistanis have emphasised their desire to get to the bottom of this and to help in any way that they can," the Daily Times quoted her, as saying.
"I do think that this is a time for complete, absolute, total transparency and co-operation. And that's what we expect," she said when referring to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Asked if Pakistan should send its head of intelligence to India as it was at first scheduled, and then abandoned, Rice answered that this is a decision for the Pakistani government to make.
Asked if she was concerned that this could escalate Pakistan-India tensions to the point of actual conflict, Rice's answer was, "Well, I'd just note that the lines of communication are open between them; that when I speak with the Indians, they talk about the very good initial statements from the Pakistani government. They have talked on the telephone. This is a different relationship than it was a number of years ago."