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India welcomes Pakistan probe, wants terror camps shut
Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:34am EST
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By Krittivas Mukherjee
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's government and opposition parties cautiously welcomed Pakistan's investigation into the Mumbai attack on Friday, in a sign diplomatic tension between the two nuclear powers could wane.
Pakistan's government said on Thursday for the first time that November's attack was launched and partly planned from Pakistan, and it was holding in custody a ringleader and five other suspects.
The acknowledgement by Pakistan of partial involvement of some of its citizens in attacks that killed 179 people came after nearly three months of angry rhetoric between the two nations, which have gone to war three times since independence in 1947.
The possible diplomatic thaw may also benefit U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke, now traveling in the region as he seeks to help bring stability to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"This is a positive step. We hope that the matter will be taken to its logical conclusion where the perpetrators are penalized," Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters.
Later in a statement to the Indian parliament, Mukherjee said Pakistan must dismantle all militant infrastructure on its soil.
"Hon. members are aware of the prevarication, denial, diversionary tactics and misplaced sense of victimhood which characterized Pakistan's reaction from early days after the Mumbai attack," Mukherjee said.
"I do not discount in any way either their intent or their sincerity, but the fact remains that the overwhelming response of official Pakistan to the Mumbai attack was not appropriate to a terrorist attack where innocents were massacred in cold blood."
Pakistan expressed concern over Mukherjee's statement, saying it ran counter to a serious approach needed to uncover "full facts."
"The government of Pakistan expects India to come clean on the multiple facets of the Mumbai tragedy and expose the names of persons and entities in India who were responsible for acts of commission and omission in a transparent manner," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
A waning of tensions could benefit India's Congress party-led ruling coalition ahead of general elections due by May, but analysts say Pakistan was unlikely to make any significant gesture until a new government was installed in New Delhi.
"If Pakistan is going to make a gesture to India, they will make it with a new Indian government rather than a government with only a few months left in office," political columnist Amitabh Mattoo told Reuters.
India's Hindu nationalist opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said Pakistan had emerged from denial mode.
"With this revelation, now the next stage should be eliminating the terrorist camps inside Pakistan and crushing the association between state actors and these terrorist groups," BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
Indian newspapers welcomed Islamabad's acknowledgement of Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai attack. Continued...
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India welcomes Pakistan probe, wants terror camps shut
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