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India Demands Pakistani Sign Of Faith Over Mumbai

Foreign Minister Mukherjee said India is not considering a military response to the attacks.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) -- India has demanded Pakistan hand over 20 of its most wanted men in a sign of good faith, as diplomatic efforts to head off a confrontation between the nuclear-armed rivals over the Mumbai attacks intensified.

The demand was contained in a protest note handed to Pakistan's High Commissioner Shahid Malik in New Delhi on December 1, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters.

"We have in our demarche [diplomatic steps] asked for the arrest and handover of those persons who are settled in Pakistan and who are fugitive of Indian law," he said, adding that about 20 people were on the list.

"The Times of India" and television channels reported the men included Dawood Ibrahim, a Mumbai underworld leader, and Maulana Masood Azhar, a Pakistani Muslim cleric freed from jail in India in exchange for passengers on a hijacked plane.

The Foreign Ministry said on December 1 that Malik had been told that "Pakistan's actions needed to match the sentiments expressed by its leadership that it wishes to have a qualitatively new relationship with India".

Pakistan said it would respond to the demand soon.

"We have to look at it formally once we get it [the note] and we will frame a response," Information Minister Sherry Rehman told reporters in Islamabad.

Mukherjee later said India was not considering military action in response to last week's Mumbai attacks.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa was in New Delhi on a scheduled visit on December 2, while U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was due to arrive the next day.

India has blamed Islamist militants based in Pakistan for the attacks in India's financial capital that killed 183 people.

Ibrahim, India's most wanted man, is reported to be living in Pakistan. He is wanted for bomb attacks in Mumbai in 1993 that killed at least 250 people.

Reports have said his henchmen in the city could have also provided some support in the latest strike.

Indian investigators have said the Mumbai attackers had months of commando training in Pakistan by the Lashkar-e Taiba group, blamed for a 2001 attack on India's parliament. Ibrahim is said to be one of its financers.

The 2001 attack on India's parliament nearly set off the fourth war between the two countries since Pakistan was carved from India in 1947 after independence from Britain.