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US House of Representatives condemns Mumbai terror attack

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | December 11, 2008 12:13 IST

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Close on the heels of the United States Senate, the US House of Representatives, in a bipartisan resolution, has strongly condemned the 'senseless and barbaric terrorist attacks' in Mumbai. The House also expressed its sympathy for the 'innocent victims from India and around the world'.

The House resolution approved unanimously, and co-sponsored by over 50 members from both sides of the aisle -- Democrats and Republicans -- said it 'joins with President George W Bush [Images] and President-elect Barack Obama [Images] in expressing solidarity, of the people and government of the United States, with the people and the government of India at this difficult time'.

Earlier, the US Senate had unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the attacks and applauding India's restraint.

It also strongly urged Pakistan to root out all extremist groups that operates on its territory.

The House resolution pledged 'its support and readiness to provide all appropriate assistance and resources to the government of India as it works to bring the terrorists responsible for the November 26, 2008 attacks to justice'.

It also called on the international community to 'make all appropriate international law enforcement, intelligence, and other resources available to the government of India to support a full investigation of the horrific terrorist attacks according to international legal standards'.

The resolution said it 'rejects any effort to confuse or associate the horrific attacks on Mumbai with a particular people or faith as a whole'.

It acknowledged the government of Pakistan's condemnation of the attacks and said it 'welcomes that government's call for a thorough investigation'.

In this regard, the resolution called on Islamabad [Images] 'to work in full cooperation with the government of India to ensure all those responsible are brought to justice and prevent its territory from serving as a safe-haven and training ground for terrorists'.

The resolution also said it's incumbent on the international community to 'renew and strengthen efforts to defeat terrorists by dismantling terrorist networks, restricting the financing of such networks, and exposing the violent and intolerant ideology of terrorism'.

In its preamble, it noted that 'India has been a strong partner of the United States in combating violent extremism' and pointed out that New Delhi [Images] 'offered immediate support to the United States after the terrorist attacks of 9/11'.

Congressman Ed Royce, California Republican, who is a ranking member of the Terrorism [Images], Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and one of the lead co-sponsors of the resolution, said, "Terrorism is not new to India".

"This great democracy, a country of over one billion, has been fighting terrorism for a generation. While a kaleidoscope of terrorist groups confront India, it looks as if this was a terrorist attack perpetrated by the Lakshar-e-Tayiba."

Royce, who will be returning for a second time in 2009 to co-chair the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, informed his colleagues that the LeT has 'been able to expand its membership, its operational reach, and its influence among the constellation of radical Islamist networks'.

Blasting Pakistan for tolerating this terror organisation, he said, "Inside Pakistan, it still operates training camps and runs a charitable and social services organisation, which has been embraced by Pakistani officials."

Royce said, "A group thought to be solely focused on India," the LeT had now gone global, and recalled that "one of the 2005 London [Images] subway bombers spent time at a LeT-affiliated school in Pakistan."

"British national Richard Reid, who attempted to blow up a transatlantic flight, trained with LeT, and the LeT has also been active inside the United States," he said, and reminded the House that "in 2006, 11 men were convicted in the Washington, DC area for providing material support to LeT."

Royce argued, "What is clear is that Pakistan and South Asia are at a crossroads. Pakistanis have to make the fundamental decision to turn their backs on the culture of Jihad."

He warned Islamabad that if they don't do so, "the future of their country, the region, and security of the world will be in peril."

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