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India to Cooperate in Terror Probe

The Indian Government has offered to cooperate with the United States in its investigation into Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. There is dismay and disbelief over the attacks among Indians.

The carnage took place thousands of kilometers away, but Tuesday's events shocked India deeply. In recent years, ordinary Indians have developed close links with the United States, with tens of thousands of middle class families having children and relatives working or studying in American cities.

In a market in downtown Delhi, people expressed amazement at the events in the country many aspire to work in or visit and consider the beacon of civilization.

"There are no words to describe the shock," said one woman.

"Is this the end of the world, beginning of the end of the world? I can't understand. Shameful. Sad," said another.

And one man expressed concern that "if this thing can happen in America it can happen in India, too."

In a letter to President Bush, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said India is ready to strengthen its partnership in leading international efforts to ensure terrorism never succeeds again. Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani says India has been battling terrorism for more than a decade and told the Star News television channel that the attacks in the United States heightened New Delhi's concerns about terrorism.

"India has been making systematic efforts to mobilize world opinion and emphasize that it is not one country or another, this country or that which is the victim of cross border terrorism, but it is a challenge to entire humanity," said Minister Advani.

Security analysts say Tuesday's events will bring both democracies closer in efforts to counter Islamic terrorism.

Security has been tightened in India at strategic buildings and military garrisons, to thwart possible terrorist attacks. Indian facilities are often threatened by Islamic guerrillas waging an armed insurgency in Kashmir.