Karl F 'Rick' Inderfurth, a foreign policy advisor on South Asia to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, has said that it is no longer enough for Pakistan to simply say 'We are with you, India.'
"It is now time for Pakistan to say, we are with you and we will take action because we now face a common threat and that is from radical Islamic militants," said Inderfurth, who is likely to play an important role in the incoming Obama administration.
"There is a need for Pakistan to take appropriate action if Lashkar e Tayiba is found to be responsible and have a hand in this (terrorist attack on Mumbai)," he added. "Pakistan has to take action against that group and its training areas."
Inderfurth, who was assistant secretary of state in the Bill Clinton administration and currently is professor of international relations at George Washington University, told rediff.com: "There is now a default setting of the blame game -- pointing fingers -- but the fact is that all of the initial evidence points towards the Lashkar e Tayiba and related groups.
"And just as Pakistan needs to share with India any and all information it has," he continued, "India also has to then take Pakistan into its confidence and say, 'This is what we know, and this is what we now expect you to do.'
"The most important thing in my view," he said, "is for them (India and Pakistan) to recognize that they face a common threat, that they have common enemies, and they need to find ways to cooperate and to take action."
Inderfurth said, "There is an anti-terrorism mechanism that the two countries established some time ago. This should now be put into practice and whatever information is there, the two countries ought to join forces because this is now something which is a common threat to them both."
He acknowledged that the United States can be supportive of that process and can urge both parties to work together, but added: "I do not see the United States stepping in and saying, 'This is what the two of you have to do.'"
Inderfurth argued, "The two of them know what they must do and right now, it is incumbent upon Pakistan to provide any and all information to get to the bottom of these groups that clearly had some Pakistan connection -- not Pakistan connection with the government, I don't believe, but Pakistan connection with Pakistani nationals, training areas, networking and almost certainly with the Lashkar e Tayiba, which was banned but is still operating in Pakistan.
"The only thing the US can do," he continued, "because apparently the US did provide some earlier intelligence -- about possible attacks from the sea and that's what I am reading -- is to continue to provide whatever intelligence it has in the aftermath of these attacks and share that with the appropriate Indian authorities, and also use that as a way to try to get to the bottom of it."
Inderfurth said that "the only silver lining to this terrible tragedy would be if the two sides did demonstrate a willingness to work together, to share information and to take action that that could be the beginning of the kind of relationship these two countries have been speaking about for the last four years.
"Some progress had been made but the most difficult issue has always been the issue of terrorism -- cross-border terrorism in Kashmir, terrorism in India proper, and increasingly terrorism taking place in Pakistan itself."
Inderfurth said that out of this terrible tragedy could possible come "a bridge to a new level of coordination and cooperation to not only include India and Pakistan, but also Afghanistan, because these are interrelated and inextricably linked today.
"That kind of regional cooperation," he added, "to jointly meet the threats posed by Islamic extremists would be a very positive outcome of this tragedy."
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