MUMBAI, May 24, 2011 (AFP) - US Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano on Tuesday paid homage to the police victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks as she began a four-day visit to India to boost counter-terrorism ties.
Napolitano placed a ceremonial wreath and stood head bowed in silent tribute for one minute at the memorial to the uniformed officers who died when India's financial capital was hit by Islamist extremists.
|AFP - US Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano lays a ceremonial wreath to commemorate the 19 police victims|
The memorial at the Mumbai Police sportsground is a short distance from where the sole surviving gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, was captured. He is now facing a death sentence for his part in the attacks.
Napolitano, who was to meet officials from the state government of Maharashtra and law enforcement representatives in closed-door discussions, is also due for talks with India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi.
The US government says Napolitano will launch the US-India Homeland Security Dialogue, which aims to increase communication between the two countries about terrorism.
President Barack Obama called for closer ties on counter-terrorism when he visited Mumbai last November.
Napolitano's visit comes amid strained relations between the United States and Pakistan -- its key ally in the fight against extremism but India's main regional rival -- after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
India blames the banned, Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for training, financing and equipping the Mumbai attackers, who killed 166 in co-ordinated attacks on high-profile targets across the city.
New Delhi was quick to link the Al-Qaeda chief's death in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad three weeks ago to its long-held claim that its neighbour is a haven for extremists.