Thu, Dec 25, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Interpol presses India to provide evidence

NO NAMESIndia’s reluctance to share intelligence on the Mumbai attacks, combined with its demand that Pakistan crack down on militants, has Islamabad most displeased

AP AND AFP , NEW DELHI AND SRINAGAR, INDIA

Nearly a month after the Mumbai terror attacks, India has not provided the evidence needed for Interpol to help identify and apprehend the suspected masterminds, the chief of the global police agency said.

Ronald Noble, speaking in Islamabad on Tuesday after a visit to New Delhi, said Pakistan has agreed to work with the agency to help investigate the attacks that killed 164 people in India’s financial hub last month.

But he said India has provided no names or information that would allow police in other countries to check their databases, calling it “not acceptable” for New Delhi to provide those details to the media first.

India’s reluctance to turn over evidence — while demanding that Pakistan crack down on the militant group suspected of hatching the plot — has been a major irritant to Islamabad.

On Monday, Pakistan sent fighter jets screaming through the skies near major cities in a display of military force that raised concerns the two nuclear powers may go to war for a fourth time.

Seeking to temper tensions, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen made a second visit to Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks and urged the country’s leadership to work with India to fight terrorism.

He “encouraged the Pakistani leaders to use this tragic event as an opportunity to forge more productive ties with India and to seek ways in which both nations can combat the common threat of extremism together,” the US embassy in Islamabad said in a statement.

Meanwhile, police in Kashmir announced the arrest of three men accused of plotting a suicide bomb attack in Indian Kashmir.

One, Ghulam Farid, is a Pakistani soldier, said Kuldeep Khoda, director-general of police in Indian Kashmir.

In Pakistan, a military official said Farid was not an active soldier. He said Farid deserted in June 2006. The official asked not to be named, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

Confirmation that Farid is an active Pakistani soldier would be a blow for Pakistan, which denies funding and training Kashmiri militant groups and says it only provides them with moral support.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also sought to calm tensions, saying New Delhi does not want to go to war.

“The issue is not war. Nobody wants war,” he told reporters. “The issue is terror — and territory in Pakistan being used to promote and abet terrorism.”

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of soldiers were on patrol in Indian Kashmir yesterday to prevent separatist unrest during the final phase of elections in the disputed Muslim-majority region.

Voter turnout was sparse in Srinagar, the hub of the anti-Indian insurgency, with polls also open in the Hindu town of Jammu and neighboring Samba district.

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