US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Thursday cautioned India from taking steps that could worsen the situation and hoped that Pakistan and India would keep the lines of communication open.
Rice flew into Islamabad Thursday morning and held talks with Pakistan's President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani aimed at reducing tension between Pakistan and India over attacks in Mumbai.
"It doesn't help to do something that might worsen the problem or have unintended consequences," Rice told a news conference at the end of her short visit to Islamabad.
"I have made that clear on both stops but there needs to be action urgently and transparently," She said.
"Whatever is done, the response has to be effective both in bringing people to justice and in preventing a further attack," she said. "That has been a message that has been well received here in Pakistan because it is Pakistan's fight as well."
Asked about any possible Indian strike on elements within Pakistan, Rice said that the most effective way to respond was through international cooperation including India and anyone else who can help like the US, Britain and includes Pakistan.
"Because obviously these terrorists work in a way that does not always respect borders, usually it doesn't respect borders, and it is extremely important to act when something like this happens," she said.
Rice said that she and Pakistan leaders talked at some length on the Mumbai attacks and about the importance of Pakistan taking its responsibility to deal with those who may use Pakistani territory even if they are non-state actors.
"I found a Pakistani leadership that is very focused and committed for its own reasons because Pakistan has been a victim of these terrorist elements," she said.
When asked about India-Pakistan relations and military tension like moving troops from the Afghan border, Rice said that she heard "nothing but reasonable and responsible discussion in both India and Pakistan about the problem here, about the attack on Mumbai".
To a question on U.S. role in investigation, Rice said that the U.S. was prepared to help in whatever way it could.
Rice's one-day visit to Islamabad is aimed at reducing tension between Pakistan and India over attacks in Mumbai.
Indian officials have blamed the Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba(LeT) for the Mumbai attacks that have spoiled relations between the two countries.
Besides seeking "strong action" against "elements from Pakistan" linked to the attacks, India has asked Pakistan to hand over 20 most wanted men, including LeT founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.
Pakistan has offered to conduct a joint investigation into the attacks. But Zardari said Wednesday that the suspects wanted by India in the attacks on Mumbai would be tried in Pakistan if there was concrete evidence against them.
(Xinhua News Agency December 5, 2008)