Government bent on pursuing talks with Pakistan


Staff member
New Delhi: India brushed off speculation tying the Mumbai bombings to Pakistan and said on Friday it remained committed to recently renewed peace talks with its rival neighbour.

The moves showed how little appetite New Delhi has for escalating tensions in the region while it focuses on maintaining economic growth in the South Asian nation of 1.2 billion people.

While future revelations about the culprits in the blasts that killed 17 people on Wednesday could still sabotage relations between the countries, the Indian government so far has rejected opposition demands for a heavy response against Pakistan.

On Friday, India said it was working out dates for the next round of negotiations expected this month between top officials from both countries. "The talks with Pakistan are on schedule," foreign ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said.

E-mail intercepted

Pakistan's leaders had quickly condemned the blasts and have welcomed India's measured response. In a statement on Friday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani "expressed satisfaction at the resolve of both Pakistan and India to continue with their bilateral dialogue, and not get deterred by terrorists' designs to derail the dialogue once again".

The coordinated triple bombings were the worst terror attack in India since ten Pakistan-based militants rampaged through the city in November 2008, killing 166 people.

Investigators examined forensic evidence and footage from closed circuit cameras on Friday for clues about who orchestrated the blasts.

"People are being questioned on the basis of our previous database and known linkages. We also have identified the scooter in which one of the bombs was planted," India's Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters in New Delhi.

He also said investigators had intercepted an e-mail sent from outside Mumbai but declined to give details.

Intelligence analysts say the attack bore the hallmarks of the Indian Mujahideen, a shadowy Islamist militant group.

A former top Indian intelligence official said that Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group has been providing ideological and physical training to the Indian Mujahideen since 2004.

Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party strongly criticised the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not taking a harder line with Pakistan.