Indian PM: 'Nobody wants war' after terror attack
By ASHOK SHARMA,Associated Press Writer AP - Wednesday, December 24
NEW DELHI - India's prime minister sought to lower tensions with neighboring Pakistan on Tuesday in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, saying "nobody wants war."
The investigation into the attacks that killed 164 people has strained relations between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, longtime rivals that have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
"The issue is not war, nobody wants war," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters.
On Monday, in a display of force, Pakistani fighter jets flew low near several of Pakistan's major cities. Pakistan's air force declined to comment on the flights but issued a statement saying, "In view of the current environment, the Pakistan Air Force has enhanced its vigilance."
Pakistan has also accused Indian fighters of violating its airspace, a charge New Delhi denies.
India has blamed the Pakistani-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the attack and demanded Pakistan take action against it and other groups operating from Pakistani soil.
Singh reiterated this demand Tuesday.
"The issue is terror and territory in Pakistan being used to promote and abet terrorism," he said.
On Monday, India gave Pakistan a letter reportedly written by Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only gunman captured after the Mumbai rampage. Kasab wrote that all 10 gunmen involved in the Nov. 26 attack came from Pakistan, India's Foreign Ministry said. He also requested a meeting with Pakistani envoys, it said.
In Islamabad, the head of Pakistan's Interior Ministry, Rehman Malik, said on Tuesday that Pakistan had no record of Kasab.
Malik, speaking at a press conference with Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble, said the letter was being examined by experts, but reiterated that Pakistan cannot fully investigate potential links back to the country without more evidence from India.
The head of Interpol said Pakistan has agreed to work with his organization to help investigate the Mumbai attacks, in which 164 people and nine of the 10 accused gunmen were killed.
But Noble said India has not provided any information "that would allow Interpol to identify the identities of the individuals involved, or that would allow Interpol member countries to determine if any links exist between them (and) any person, any group and any other country."
At the same time, he defended India's right to decide when to share additional evidence. "I really respect a sovereign's decision to decide when to share information with police worldwide," said Noble.
India says it has provided enough evidence for Pakistan to crack down against Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group blamed in the attack.
Pakistan has arrested several senior members of the banned group and has also moved against Jammat-ud-Dawa, a charity that India and others say is a front for Lashkar. But India has criticized the moves as insufficient and has demanded greater action.
"We would like an objective effort to dismantle the terror machine. The government of Pakistan knows what that implies," Singh said.
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