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India Blasts Pakistan Over Hoax Mumbai Call


Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said it was "worrying that a neighboring state might even consider acting on the basis of such a hoax call."

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said it was "worrying that a neighboring state might even consider acting on the basis of such a hoax call."

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -- India's foreign minister has accused Pakistan of trying to divert attention from the fact the Mumbai attacks were launched from its soil by leaking a story about a hoax call to Pakistan's president.

On December 6, Pakistan's "Dawn" newspaper reported that Pakistan had put its forces on high alert after a caller pretending to be Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee was connected to President Asif Ali Zardari on November 28.

The caller threatened Zardari, prompting Pakistan to put its forces on high alert and setting off diplomatic panic.

"I can only ascribe this series of events to those in Pakistan who wish to divert attention from the fact that a terrorist group, operating from the Pakistani territory, planned and launched a ghastly attack on Mumbai," Mukherjee said in a statement released on December 7.

New Delhi has demanded Islamabad take swift action over what it says is the latest anti-India militant attack emanating from Pakistani soil.

At least 171 people were killed during the three-day assault last week across India's financial capital, which has imperiled improving ties between the longtime South Asian nuclear rivals.

"It is, however, worrying that a neighboring state might even consider acting on the basis of such a hoax call, try to give it credibility with other states, and confuse the public by releasing the story in part," Mukherjee said.

Officials from "third countries" called to inform Mukherjee of the hoax call, he said. He did not name them, but "Dawn" said it was U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was in both capitals last week to ease tensions.

Mumbai police have said the gunmen were controlled by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT) group blamed for earlier attacks in India including a 2001 assault on India's parliament that nearly sparked a fourth war between India and Pakistan.

LeT was formed to fight Indian rule in Kashmir with Pakistani intelligence help, but analysts say it is now part of a global jihadi network sympathetic to Al-Qaeda and may have direct ties.
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