Can India go after Mumbai masterminds in Pakistan? US not sure

US said it would again carry out Abottabad like strikes again in Pak if needed.

Last Updated: May 06, 2011, 12:42 PM IST

Washington: Describing the commando operation that killed Osama bin Laden deep inside Pakistan as "clearly unique", the US has declined to say if India had the same right to go after the masterminds of the Mumbai terror attack.

"I don`t want to speculate too broadly about an operation that was clearly unique in the history of the United States and the history of the world," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Thursday when asked if it would support India if takes similar action against 26/11 perpetrators in Pakistan.

Here "we had an individual who was possibly the most wanted man in the world and had perpetrated heinous crimes against not only American citizens but citizens around the globe", he said

"I don`t want to draw too broadly a picture here," Toner said. "What we`ve said all along is that this was an individual where, when we had actionable intelligence against him, we acted upon that because we believed he was a direct and imminent threat to the United States."

Reminded about certain individuals inside Pakistan who attacked the Indian Parliament and who were responsible for killing hundreds of people in Mumbai, Toner said he was aware of all those cases.

"Our counterterrorism cooperation both with India and with Pakistan is ongoing and we believe that it`s directed at exactly these kinds of elements," he said.

But Toner made clear that US would again carry out a similar operation if needed despite warnings from Islamabad that any more violation of Pakistan`s sovereignty will warrant a review on the level of military intelligence cooperation with the US.

"I can just say our position has been quite clear in that we believe this individual was a direct threat to the United States and to United States citizens, as well as the world," he said. "And when we have that kind of intelligence, actionable intelligence, we`re going to take action."

Toner said Obama administration was reaching out to members of Congress to listen to their concerns and to convey them to the Pakistani government.

"These are concerns, frankly, that we share - these concerns about possible support that he (Osama) may have received," But Washington believed that "it is in the fundamental interests of our nation to continue this kind of cooperation" with Pakistan.

"I think we`re committed to this relationship. We believe it`s in our national interest. That said, we`ve raised our concerns quite clearly, and we`re going to wait to hear the response."