3 Dec : The Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that the primary goal of her visit to India is to "express solidarity".US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will reach New Delhi on Wednesday after cutting short her last meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels.Rice will meet Prime Minister, External Affairs Minister and is likely to meet Home Minister and NSA.
Speaking in Brussels at the NATO headquarters, Rice said that expressing solidarity with the people of the country will be the focus of her visit to India.
"I am going to, of course, express solidarity with the Indian people. This was a horrible attack. It was, of course, also an attack that killed American citizens. And it is therefore of very great concern to the United States," Rice said.
"It underscores the importance of getting to the bottom of what happened, both to bring those who perpetrated this terrible crime to justice and to try and prevent further attacks of this kind. And in that regard, I want to consult with the Indian government further about what we can do to help," she said in response to a query.
Noting that everyone, including Pakistan, needs to cooperate fully and transparently in the investigations of the audacious attacks in India’s financial capital, the top US official said, "I was pleased to see the statements of the Pakistani government that they intend to do so, but that is the nature of my trip to India".
In response to another query related to any advance warning the United States may have passed on to India before the Mumbai attacks, Rice was reluctant to comment on the issue.
"As to the reports that I have seen, as you have, I don’t really know the source of them, and I’m always reluctant to speak to unnamed sources who are speaking on background, because one never knows what they’re talking about," she said.
"That’s one of the problems with the unnamed source issue. But we obviously try to pass information to countries all around the world if we pick up information. But I’ll tell you, having been on the receiving end of information sometimes which one could constitute as ‘warnings’, they are often difficult to act on, sometimes not very concrete," Rice added.
"So the real problem we have with terrorism is that terrorists can be right once and we have to be right 100 per cent of the time. And in that regard, I have some not just sympathy, but empathy for what the Indian Government has gone through," she added, according to a transcript released by the State Department in Washington.
Rice was pressed on whether the United States passed on specific information that there was increased chatter as you (America) had before 9/11.
"I dont know who this source is, and so I don’t know what they’re referring to. As I said to you, I’ve been on the other side of this, and I’m not going to respond to whether there are chatter or whatever," she said.
"And I know that the Indian government is looking hard at how it might have more effective counterterrorism responses, how it might better use information. We’ve been through in that United States; it is a tough business, particularly for a democracy. And so I have to tell you, I have a lot of empathy for what they are going through," Rice replied.