India's Railway Minister Lalu Prasad on Monday said the twin blasts on the train bound for Pakistan was a clear case of a terror attack.
"It's an act of terrorism like the one in Mumbai," said Lalu Prasad, referring to a series of bomb blasts in the Maharashtra capital that killed at least 187 people in July last year.
"Innocent people have been targeted," the minister told reporters even as he was preparing to visit the site, 100 km north of the capital. "We have also recovered two suitcases with dangerous explosive devices."
The two bombs exploded a little after midnight in the Atari Special Express at Diwana village, 10 km from Panipat in Haryana, while on its way to Atari, 25 km ahead of Amritsar in Punjab, for an onward journey on the Samjhauta Express to Lahore.
The blasts set fire to two bogies and charred the victims to death, eyewitnesses said.
"We have come to understand from various sources that most of the victims are our Pakistani brothers and sisters," said Lalu Prasad. "This is a challenge to both nations after they have improved their ties."
The attack came ahead of a three-day visit of Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri to New Delhi from Tuesday to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee.
Three personnel of the Railway Protection Force - Swarna Singh, Kashmira Singh and Rajender Singh - were also among those dead, the railway minister added.