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India/Pakistan - interview

Pakistan’s official reaction to Mumbai evidence “within days or weeks”?

Article published on the 2009-02-05 Latest update 2009-02-06 12:37 TU

Shivshankar Menon.(Photo: Indian government)

Shivshankar Menon.
(Photo: Indian government)

After two months, India waits patiently for Pakistan to give an official response to evidence it delivered to Islamabad linking “elements” in Pakistan to the attacks on Mumbai in November 2008. India's foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon told RFI that India does not believe the Pakistani government orchestrated the attacks.

In a speech delivered at French think-tank IFRI, Menon said those behind the Mumbai attacks and against the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in July 2008, are “clients and creations of the Pakistani intelligence services, the ISI.”

However, Menon wanted to be clear that India does not think that the Pakistani government is behind the attacks.

“What we’ve consistently said is that elements in Pakistan are behind the attacks. We have no quarrel with the people of Pakistan,” Menon said.

“The reason we say this is not only because of what the one terrorist we captured alive told us […] but also because of the mass of evidence we’ve collected," he added.

Interview: Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon

05/02/2009 by Rosslyn Hyams

But he expressed India’s determination to bring the perpetrators to justice, because the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group fighting against Indian’s rule in Kashmir, “is not just a threat to us, but to the rest of the world.”

Nevertheless, Menon stressed that the Pakistani authorities have serious responsibilities.

“The solution to this really lies in Pakistan. It’s for Pakistan to make up its mind, to follow a coherent policy and to decide how to deal with this. It’s up to Pakistan,” Menon told RFI.

Pakistan has banned Lashkar-e-Taiba and several other groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and a charity, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which was founded by Lashkar leader, Hafiz Sayeed. He heads Jammat-ud-Dawa and has been placed under house arrest along with eight other members of the association.

Meanwhile, police in Mumbai have been given extra time to detain and question two men suspected of involvement in the attacks on the city last November that left 165 people dead.

Crime branch chief Rakesh Maria, who is leading the investigation, says that a judge has allowed police to hold the two suspects until 16th February.

The alleged sole surviving gunman, said to be a Pakistani national, is in custody in India for one more week. Then he's due to be charged.