Sun, Feb 15, 2009 - Page 5 News List

New Delhi praises Pakistani probe on Mumbai attacks

AGENCIES , NEW DELHI AND ISLAMABAD

India on Friday welcomed Pakistan’s acknowledgement the Mumbai attacks were partly planned on its soil, in a sign of a possible thaw in relations between the two nuclear powers.

Pakistan said for the first time on Thursday that November’s attacks, in which 179 people died, had been launched and partly planned from Pakistan.

Analysts said it could signal Pakistan was responding to pressure from the US under US President Barack Obama, based on tying aid to progress made on battling militants.

“This is a positive step. We hope that the matter will be taken to its logical conclusion where the perpetrators are penalized,” Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters.

However, he also told parliament Pakistan’s reaction to the attacks had been characterized by “prevarication, denial, diversionary tactics and misplaced sense of victimhood.”

“I do not discount in any way either their intent or their sincerity, but the fact remains that the overwhelming response of official Pakistan to the Mumbai attack was not appropriate to a terrorist attack where innocents were massacred in cold blood,” he said.

He told Parliament that the gains from the peace process between the two countries that began in 2004 remained “at grave risk,” and that the “infrastructure of terrorism which exists in Pakistan” must be dismantled.

“It is imperative that [Pakistan] act with sincerity and act effectively against the license that terrorist groups enjoy in its territory,” he said.

Analysts said Pakistan’s announcement had assuaged much of India’s frustration and there could now be several months of toing and froing over the probe.

Indian newspapers welcomed Islamabad’s statement.

“Pak blinks, finally,” read the headline in the Times of India newspaper, while the Mail Today led a story with “Finally, Pakistan admits some guilt.”

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