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India says not reached end of road on Mumbai attacks
Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:00am EST
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By Bappa Majumdar
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has not exhausted its diplomatic options in its attempt to bring the Mumbai attack plotters to justice, India's foreign minister said Saturday.
"We have not reached the end of the road," Pranab Mukherjee told CNN-IBN television channel.
But he also said that India had enough evidence to support a statement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this week that "official agencies" in Pakistan were involved in the November attack in which 10 gunmen killed 179 people.
"We have adequate information and circumstantial evidence," Mukherjee told The Statesman newspaper. He said the "magnitude, ferocity and depth" of the attack showed it was well planed.
"And sometimes it becomes difficult to believe that such a preparation is going on in a piece of land where there is a government, a civilian government, and it is fully unaware of it," the foreign minister added.
India has become increasingly frustrated at what it sees as Pakistan's failure to take strong action against those it blames for the Mumbai attacks.
Pakistan has rejected the Indian allegations.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani Saturday reiterated an offer that Pakistan would cooperate in investigations but said its forces were ready to defend the country.
"As far as Pakistan is concerned, we are prepared for full cooperation with them, including intelligence cooperation," he told reporters in the southern city of Karachi.
"But we don't want them to demoralize or ridicule Pakistan through media or diplomacy ... Pakistan is strong. Its defense is strong. We have a highly professional army and there is no need to (feel) threatened."
Islamabad said Friday it had sent New Delhi a response to a dossier of evidence from the Mumbai attacks, but India's foreign ministry denied receiving any reply.
The Mumbai attacks revived tension between two nuclear-armed nations that have fought three wars since 1947, leading to speculation in the media that India could carry out strikes against militant camps inside Pakistan.
Mukherjee declined to comment on what India's options were, but replying to a question on whether India was considering strikes comparable to those of Israel on Gaza, he said the two issues could not be compared.
"I have not occupied in Pakistan's land, which Israel has done, so how is the situation comparable?" he said during the TV interview.
Experts said India would keep up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan and the international community to take action. Continued...
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