-- The United States again finds itself playing the role of peacemaker in South Asia.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in New Delhi today to deter Indian officials from a rash response to last week's terror attacks in Mumbai. Sources say Rice will continue on to Islamabad Thursday to urge neighboring Pakistan to cooperate with India's investigation of the attacks.
"I have said that Pakistan needs to act with resolve and urgency to cooperate fully and transparently," Rice told reporters in New Delhi today. "That message has been delivered and will be delivered to Pakistan."
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, will make the reverse trip, with stops in Pakistan today and in India Thursday. Mullen will seek a commitment from Pakistan's military in going after the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.
"One of the reasons the president wanted Secretary Rice and Adm. Mullen to go to the region was, of course, to help reduce tensions, which is our goal," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters today.
U.S. diplomats say President Bush has been particularly angered by Pakistan's unwillingness to cooperate.
Rice's expected message to Pakistan is: "The time to cooperate is now," according to a senior U.S. diplomat. "The ball is in Pakistan's court right now. It's got to give 100 percent effort."
This week, Indians have taken to the streets demanding that those behind the attacks be pursued, and many have pointed a finger at Pakistan and urged the Indian government to go after terror networks there -- with or without Islamabad's permission. U.S. and Indian officials have suggested that the attackers came from Pakistan, a charge Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari denied Tuesday.
When asked about reports that the lone captured attackers has admitted that he was trained in Pakistan, Zardari told CNN's Larry King: "We have not been given any tangible proof to say that he is definitely a Pakistani. I very much doubt, Larry, that he's a Pakistani."
The United States is conducting its own intelligence investigation into the origin of the Mumbai attackers. Sources say that there are indications they came from Pakistan, but caution that American intelligence has not yet been able to determine that conclusively.