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India gives Pakistan evidence over Mumbai attacks

India gives Pakistan evidence over Mumbai attacks

Author: Sam Dolnick
Publication: Yahoo News
Date: January 5, 2009
URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090105/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_india

India handed Pakistan detailed evidence on the Mumbai attacks on Monday that included information on interrogations, weapons, and data gleaned from satellite phones that officials said proved Pakistani "elements" were behind the deadly siege.

Indian authorities said the evidence shows that Pakistan-based militants plotted and executed the attacks, but a top diplomat said the gunmen may also have had ties to Pakistani authorities.

"Its hard to believe that something of this scale ... could occur without anybody, anywhere in the establishment knowing that this was happening," India's Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters in New Delhi on Monday.

Menon dismissed Pakistan's repeated claims that the attacks were carried out by "non-state actors," saying, "Even the so-called non-state actors function within a state, are citizens of a state ... We don't think there's such a thing as non-state actors."

Menon also called for Pakistan to extradite the suspects so they could be brought "to Indian justice." Pakistan has said any trials will take place in its own courts.

India has blamed the November attacks that killed 164 people on Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani-based militant group, but Islamabad has resisted the claims and requested evidence showing the attacks were launched from across the border.

Indian officials said the dossier handed to Pakistan - as well as to officials from the foreign countries whose citizens were killed - will make their case, and it is now up to Pakistan to act.

"The material, as you know, is linked to elements in Pakistan," Menon said.

"We are no longer interested in words," he added. "We want actual action against the perpetrators."

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq said the authorities are reviewing the evidence and declined to comment further.

Pakistan has arrested at least two Lashkar leaders accused of planning the attacks and launched a nationwide crackdown on a charity believed to be a front for the militant group.

Menon dismissed those moves as insufficient and said the charity was still operating and Pakistan authorities have not informed India about the status of the two men they said they arrested.

"What we have seen so far does not impress us," he said.

In Islamabad on Monday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher met with Pakistani leaders and called for India and Pakistan to work together in the investigation.

"It's clear...that the attackers had links that lead to Pakistani soil," he said.

Menon declined to say whether the evidence showed links to Pakistan's powerful spy agency, which has allegedly been tied to attacks against India in the past.

Indian leaders have stepped up the rhetoric about the possible involvement of Pakistani officials in recent days.

The top security official, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, said Sunday in an interview with the news channel NDTV that "no non-state actor can mount this attack without any kind of state help."

Tensions have been high between the nuclear-armed rivals ever since the attacks. Pakistan has redeployed troops toward India and away from the Afghan border, where authorities are battling militants.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars against each other since they gained independence in 1947 - two over Kashmir, a majority Muslim region in the Himalayas claimed by both countries. Despite increased tensions, Indian leaders have made clear they do not want to fight a fourth.

Pakistan's leaders have veered back and forth from confrontational statements to conciliatory ones and on Sunday Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the country wanted "good relations with its neighbors."

Much of India's evidence against the militants comes from interrogations of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only gunman to survive the attacks. He has reportedly told authorities that he and his nine other attackers were Pakistani, he was trained in Pakistan, and his handlers are still there.

Pakistan has said it has no record of Kasab as a Pakistani citizen. Pakistan's Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said Monday authorities were still examining his claim.

The Mumbai attacks began Nov. 26 and lasted for nearly three days. The 10 gunmen attacked 10 sites across India's financial capital, including two five-star hotels, the main train station, popular restaurants and a Jewish center.

- Associated Press reporters Nahal Toosi and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad, Ashok Sharma in New Delhi and Khalid Tanveer in Multan, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

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