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Central & South Asia
India demands Mumbai attack action
Indian foreign minister tells Al Jazeera that Pakistan must bring perpetrators to justice.
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2009 10:13 GMT
Mukherjee said Pakistan had to fulfil its
commitments "at the highest level" [AP]

India's foreign minister has called on Pakistan to take "strong action" against those behind the Mumbai attacks, in his first interview with foreign media since last month's raids.

Pranab Mukherjee told Al Jazeera's Riz Khan that Pakistani authorities had to fulfill their commitments "at the highest level" to bring to justice the perpetrators of the attacks which left more than 170 people dead.

"[There are] three major things – dismantle the infrastructural facilities, take strong actions against the perpetrators of terror attacks and look for the fugitives of the Indian law who have committed crime here and have taken shelter there," he said on Tuesday.

"Every country is responsible to protect its territory, to protect its citizens and also to ensure that their territory is not misused by miscreants to cause trouble in the neighbouring countries."

Relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated since the attack, which India has blamed on the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Pakistan, which has detained scores of members of Lashkar and an affiliated Islamic charity, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, has been angered by Indian claims that Pakistani state agencies were involved and what it sees as repeated Indian hints of military action.

Kashmir crisis

Mukherjee also told Al Jazeera that US hopes of combatting a growing Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan "cannot be de-linked" with Pakistan and that India considered Pakistan's co-operation and involvement "necessary" to resolve the crisis.

Barack Obama, the US president, has made Afghanistan the focus of his foreign policy and recently appointed veteran US diplomat Richard Holbrooke as the new envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Indian foreign minister acknowledged that the Indian government had lobbied actively for India not to be included in Holbrooke's remit alongside the other two nations - particularly over its battle with Pakistan over the Kashmir region - but denied that this would affect India's relationship with Pakistan.

"In the last four years ... there has been substantial improvement [in relations with Pakistan]. We are talking of trade; we are talking of economic co-operation."

"India’s issue is not whether there will be any conflict between India and Pakistan. The issue is how to tackle the problem of terrorism ... emanating from Pakistan."

Mukherjee also said that any future talks on the status of Kashmir, which Obama has also pledged to broach with both India and Pakistan, would be postponed until Pakistan co-operated over the Mumbai attacks and took action against its perpetrators.

Tens of thousands of people have died in the Kashmir region, over which India and Pakistan have fought three wars and where there has also been a bloody battle against Indian rule in the territory since 1989.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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