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India questions Pak's denial of links to 11/7

New Delhi was surprised about how all kinds of conclusions were being drawn, including denial of role of terrorist groups in Pak.

india Updated: Aug 03, 2006 19:14 IST

India on Thursday questioned Pakistan's denial of involvement of terrorist groups based in its territory even before the probe into Mumbai train blasts was over and said it has given evidence to Islamabad about role of "elements" across the border in violence in the recent past.

New Delhi was "surprised" about how all kinds of conclusions were being drawn, including denial of role of terrorist groups in Pakistan, even before the investigations into the Mumbai terror strikes had been concluded, Indian High Commissioner Shivshankar Menon said.

He was replying to questions after addressing the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Indian Economy and Pakistan in Islamabad.

India, Menon said, forwarded to Islamabad evidence of involvement of "elements" from Pakistan in series of bomb blasts that have taken place in several Indian cities during past several months at the Home Secretary-level talks in Islamabad in May.

On how India could blame Pakistan immediately after Mumbai bomb blasts, he said "as far Mumbai is concerned we are still investigating. We are amazed that people can jump to all kinds of conclusions, including denying things.

"How can you deny if you have not investigated the case. The media might say whatever it says but please listen to what government of India says and what the Prime Minister of India is saying."

"There are elements in Pakistan which are linked to series of bombings in the past. We have given the Government of Pakistan evidence...Most recently when our Home Secretary was here in May. It is our expectation that in its own interest and the interest of (peace) process and common interest of fighting terrorism, action will be taken," Menon said.

The High Commissioner said in all the previous bomb attacks, India got back to Pakistan with evidence whenever it traced the links to groups across the border including series of bombings in the last nine to ten months.

Observing that terrorist groups were a threat to both countries, he said "there are links to elements in Pakistan. Those elements are no friends of peace process, they are no friends of India and they are no friends of Pakistan itself.

"But we will deal with this issue together. It is not a ball going back and forth. It is a serious issue. This is a real and serious issue, which we need to address. The issue is terrorism and how do we deal with it."

Contending that the terrorist groups were as much a threat to Pakistan as they were to India, Menon said "we have common interest in dealing with this. We are not saying because of this we must stop doing business.

"No, not at all. What we should do is to make harder and harder for these groups to work and to shrink the space within which they can operate and this primarily is the responsibility of the government of Pakistan".