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India Hands Over Mumbai Attack Evidence To Pakistan


Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi: "It is my duty to examine the dossier carefully..."

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi: "It is my duty to examine the dossier carefully..."

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -- India's government has handed over evidence on the Mumbai attacks to Pakistan, saying it expected a prompt investigation as New Delhi tried to pile on diplomatic pressure on its nuclear-armed rival.

India has blamed Pakistani militants for the November attacks in Mumbai by 10 gunmen that killed 179 people. The rampage through India's financial hub has revived hostilities between the neighbors, who have fought three wars since 1947.

"The material is linked to elements in Pakistan," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "It is our expectation that the government of Pakistan will promptly undertake further investigations in Pakistan and share the results with us so as to bring the perpetrators to justice."

This is the first time India has handed over evidence regarding the Mumbai attacks to Pakistan.

The evidence presented to Pakistan included a confession from the one surviving gunman, details of communications links with "elements in Pakistan," and data retrieved from GPS and satellite phones, the ministry said.

"It is our duty, my duty to examine the dossier carefully, understand it and be truthful to myself, to my country and the neighborhood," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Reuters.

While a similar attack on India's parliament in 2001 nearly sparked a war after a massive build-up of forces on their border, this time New Delhi has focused on diplomatic initiatives, especially winning support from the United States.

On January 5, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher was in Islamabad for meetings with government leaders on various issues, including the Mumbai attacks, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said.

India says that so far it has not been satisfied by Pakistan's response. New Delhi wants Islamabad to dismantle what it says are terrorist training camps on its territory, and extradite 40 suspects.

Pakistan says it will act if India provides proof, although many Indians suspect Pakistan will do the very minimum needed to fend off international pressure.

Hand Of Pakistan's ISI?

Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said on January 4 that Mumbai attacks pointed to the involvement of "state actors" in Pakistan, hinting at a role for Pakistan's military spy agency, the ISI.

Qureshi said on January 5 that Chidambaram's statement was "speculation."

Security elements within Pakistan like the ISI may want to provoke tension with India as an excuse to move troops from its western border with Afghanistan where troops are battling an unpopular and costly war against Taliban militants, analysts say.

A decision by Pakistan to move troops to its eastern border with India would worry Washington, just as it prepares a troop surge to battle Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

Some analysts say India has placed too much faith in the United States and may be disappointed.

"I think that Pakistan has led itself to believe that the U.S. and NATO allies need Pakistan so much that there is precious little the United States will do," said G. Parthasarathy, a former ambassador to Pakistan.

Parthasarathy, like several other diplomatic experts, criticized India for being too soft. He said New Delhi should have withdrawn its ambassador and formally suspended peace talks.

India's diplomatic approach will be severely tested if Pakistan is perceived by New Delhi as stonewalling the investigations, or if there is another attack.

"India is left with no option but to mobilize world opinion for enhancing pressure on Pakistan," wrote security analyst Anil Bhat in the "Asian Age." "Will this pressure work?"

When Qureshi was asked on January 5 whether he expected U.S. pressure, he replied: "We are friends and friends respond to understanding not pressure. Pressure never works."
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