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US, India United Against Terrorism - 2001-10-03

The United States says its global campaign against terrorism will target the kind of violence that occurred Monday in the Indian state of Kashmir. Secretary of State Colin Powell made the declaration after meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh.

Secretary Powell expressed his condolences to Minister Singh over the car bomb explosion that killed 38 people outside the Kashmir state legislature in Srinagar on Monday. Indian officials say those responsible for the violence are linked to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network, the group the United States blames for the recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Mr. Powell called the Kashmir explosion a heinous terrorist act and the kind of terrorism the United States and India are united against.

"We are going after terrorism in a comprehensive way," Mr. Powell said, " not just in the present instance of al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden, but terrorism as it affects nations around the world, to include terrorism that affects India."

India accuses Pakistan of supporting the separatist Islamic militants who carried out the Kashmir bombing. But the United States has embraced Pakistan in its campaign against terrorism and Osama bin Laden. For its part, Pakistan has expressed its wariness over efforts to suppress the militants in the disputed region.

The question underscores the diplomatic sensitivities Washington must negotiate as it builds a global anti-terrorist coalition.

The Indian government has been unequivocal in blaming Pakistan for Monday's attack, but Mr. Singh was more restrained when speaking to reporters.

"If the leadership of Pakistan were to abandon the path of violence and terrorism and join the rest of the international community in its fight against this evil, it would be a development that India would welcome," said Mr. Singh.

In addition to meeting with Secretary of State Powell, the Indian minister held talks with President Bush's national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, and, briefly, with Mr. Bush himself.

He arrived in Washington after spending Monday with New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani inspecting the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center, where about 200 Indians died in the September 11 terrorist attack.