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India Urges Pakistan to Apprehend Planners of Mumbai Terror Attacks

India on Thursday called on its fellow nuclear-armed rival Pakistan to bring to justice the men who designed and helped carry out the high-profile 2008 terrorist massacres in Mumbai, arguing that doing so would strengthen their bilateral peace process, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, June 27).

Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and his Pakistani opposite, Jalil Abbas Jilani, met for two days of formal talks on Wednesday and Thursday in New Delhi; the two diplomats later told journalists their governments were determined to end the decades of mutual animosity that have led to war three times since 1947.

Jilani said his government is "willing to enter comprehensive cooperation in order to defeat the forces of terrorism."

"I emphasized that terrorism is the biggest threat to peace and security in the region and that bringing the guilty to justice in the Mumbai terror attacks would be the biggest confidence-building measure of all," Mathai said to reporters.

The November 2008 attacks on Mumbai that killed over 160 people were organized and carried out by the Pakistani-based extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. New Delhi responded to the assault by pulling out of peace talks with Islamabad and accused the Pakistani government of not doing enough to suppress the terrorist organizations that operate from its territory. The comprehensive peace process was reinvigorated in 2011.

Indian police recently arrested a man they say assisted in training the Lashkar gunmen who carried out the Mumbai attacks. The accused terrorist, Sayeed Zabiudeen Ansari, has reportedly told investigators that Pakistani intelligence service agents played a supporting role in the assault.

Jilani rejected all accusations that any Pakistani state agency had played a role in the Mumbai attacks (Nirmala George, Associated Press/Google News, July 5).

But New Delhi contends the information provided by Ansari conclusively points to Pakistani agency complicity in the attacks, Agence France-Presse reported.

"It is no longer possible to deny that though the incident happened in Mumbai, there was a control room in Pakistan before and during the incident," Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram said on Wednesday. "It is clear that state actors were there" (Rupam Jain Nair, Agence France-Presse/Yahoo!News, July 5).

The two foreign secretaries were slated during their talks to discuss options for improving mutual trust on nuclear-weapon issues, the Indian Express newspaper reported (see GSN, Feb. 22; Indian Express, July 4).

Jilani and Mathai wrapped up their talks on Thursday. "The foreign secretaries, along with their respective delegations, have had two full sessions of detailed discussions covering all aspects of the agenda under the items [of] peace and security as well as [the disputed territories of] Jammu and Kashmir," Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin was quoted by the Indo-Asian News Service as telling journalists.

Jilani was due to meet with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna prior to leaving New Delhi on Friday (Indo-Asian News Service/News Track India, July 4).

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