U.S. says Pakistan must cooperate on counterterror

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pakistan must cooperate fully and communicate with India after the Mumbai attacks, the White House said on Thursday, vowing to keep the pressure on to ensure that happened.

“Pakistan needs to act with resolve, urgency. They need to cooperate fully and transparently and they need to keep the line of communication open between their country and India,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

“We will continue to try to help make that happen,” she said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a trip to the region aimed at curbing tension between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, said last week’s Mumbai attack showed a level of sophistication unseen in the region and urgent action was needed to get the perpetrators and prevent more attacks.

India and U.S. officials have blamed groups based on Pakistani territory for the attack that killed 171 people, but no accusations have been leveled at the Pakistani state or its agencies.

At the State Department, spokesman Robert Wood said Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had “said all of the right things” about cooperating with the investigation during his talks with Rice in Islamabad earlier in the day.

“What’s important now is that we have action,” Wood said.

When asked whether this meant Pakistan should meet an Indian demand to hand over 20 wanted men said to be living in Pakistan, Wood said that was Islamabad’s decision.

India on Monday renewed its years-old demand for the fugitives, which it believes are hiding in Pakistan. Officials in India said the list included Dawood Ibrahim, a Mumbai underworld leader, and Maulana Masood Azhar, a Pakistani Muslim cleric freed from jail in India in exchange for passengers on a hijacked plane.

“It’s not for us to, basically get involved or to tell the Pakistanis as to specifically how they should respond and not respond,” Wood said.

Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky and Susan Cornwell, editing by Doina Chiacu