Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008 | 2:07 a.m.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with leaders in India on Wednesday, and on Thursday she met with leaders in Pakistan. She had an important message for both governments — work together.
The immediate priority is for the bordering nuclear powers to cooperate on finding and prosecuting anyone involved in planning or helping to carry out the coordinated terrorist attacks last week in India’s financial center, Mumbai.
Rice’s visit was a necessity, as India and Pakistan have gone to war against each other three times since they both became independent of British rule in 1947, and to this day tension between the two remains unremitting.
With the terror attacks, which savagely killed more than 170 people, the tension has been heightened.
This is because India says there is evidence the terrorists who attacked Mumbai had links to a militant group in Pakistan known as LET, or Lashkar-e-Taiba. The New York Times reported Thursday that LET is officially banned in Pakistan, but that it has a history of links to Pakistan’s intelligence services and has been “hiding in plain sight for years.”
It is easy to see that India could come to blame Pakistan for its acquiescence toward this group, just as Americans are frustrated and angry with Pakistan for its acquiescence toward al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists in its tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.
It is clear Rice is correct in trying to impress upon Pakistan the urgency of the need for it to take strong actions against the growing number of terrorist groups within its borders. The country’s leaders have been passive for too long. They need to start tangibly showing the world that their country is not a safe haven from which terrorists can launch attacks.
Tension between India and Pakistan — and the United States and Pakistan, for that matter — could be reduced significantly if Pakistan would demonstrate that terrorists who believe they are safe in the country are wrong, dead wrong if need be.