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26/11: FBI evidence made Pak own up, says Mulford
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | February 27, 2009 09:52 IST
United States' Ambassador [Images] to India David Mulford, who will soon vacate his position, feels that the 'credible evidence' gathered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that was handed over to Pakistan, had forced Islamabad [Images] to admit that its nationals were complicit in the terror attack on Mumbai [Images].
In an interaction with a few think-tank analysts, representatives of business and industry, administration officials and journalists at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, Mulford recalled that he had been accused of interfering in India's internal affairs when he had offered FBI assistance earlier. But the FBI's help has been appreciated in the wake of the terror attack on Mumbai, he said.
Mulford also expressed hope that this will pave the way for joint US-India counter-terrorism cooperation without any of the earlier hang-ups.
"I have to say now that there has been a sudden and major shift after the Mumbai terror attack, and really because of the superb performance of the FBI in Mumbai, which arrived on the scene," he said.
"I should mention that the offer of FBI assistance after terror attacks in India was always made," he revealed, adding, "The first time I made it to the chief secretary of the government of Assam, I was called in and dressed down at the Ministry of External Affairs for interfering in domestic affairs".
Mulford claimed that there were "calls in the media for me to be returned to Washington and so on and so forth."
"Now, the FBI came and one member of the Indian government said, 'well, there is nothing adverse in the media,' and that 'the next time we have an event like this, the stories will be, 'Why the FBI isn't here!' �and there is some truth in that."
Mulford added that it was "because of the work that was done -- and it was done on the ground, policeman to policeman and not in New Delhi [Images] -- cooperating on the accumulation of evidence, and the FBI did a superb job in assisting with that."
"So, what could be put together was a very convincing body of evidence and that was used to distribute to other countries who've been adversely affected by the attack, as well as to the Pakistani government �and that was one of the reasons that there has been some degree of success in response out of Pakistan, because of the credibility of the evidence from India and the US together," he explained.
Mulford claimed that it was the 'convincing evidence' put together by the FBI that had really "put a certain pressure on Pakistan that has encouraged them to face the reality (of the involvement of Pakistani nationals)". This, he pointed out, had led to "some forward movement and India is appreciative of that."
He predicted that this kind of cooperation between the Indian authorities and the FBI would "turn out to be a very, very important area of future cooperation".