ISI hand in Mumbai attacks: India
New Delhi had names of ISI operatives who trained the attackers as well as details of the internet protocol addresses used by the LeT, which were previously used by ISI, report Amit Baruah. Full CoverageListen to podcastSee graphicsindia Updated: Dec 05, 2008 08:00 IST
India has “proof” that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate was involved in plotting the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack, sources said on Thursday.
New Delhi had names of ISI operatives who trained the 10 Mumbai attackers as well as details of the internet protocol addresses used by the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, which were previously used by Pakistan's intelligence service. India was also aware of where the terrorists were trained.
No details of the “proof” were, however, made available. India’s claims came a day after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari expressed doubts that the Lashkar gunman in custody was a Pakistani. By pointing the finger at the ISI, India has, effectively, pinned the blame for 26/11 on the Pakistan army.
According to the sources, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Pakistani leadership on Wednesday that they needed to arrest the Lashkar boss, Hafiz Saeed, and wind up the operations of the terrorist outfit. They revealed that the Americans actually had more intelligence than India given their presence in Pakistan and the tabs they kept on movements in and out of the Karachi port.
On whether India had provided this proof to Pakistan, the sources responded, “We will leave that to the Americans.” Pointing out that the Lashkar had a presence in Afghanistan, Sudan and Chechnya, the sources said there was a need for an international response to the group.
They argued that the Mumbai attack was also a Pakistan army hit on the civilian government and a “declaration of independence”. It was possible that the army, which was using the India threat bogey to wriggle out of the US-led war on terror, might even take power directly in Pakistan.
In response to the Mumbai provocation, India had not formally suspended the dialogue process with Pakistan, but had put off several scheduled meetings.
Promising that New Delhi would go after the elements responsible for the Mumbai carnage, the sources, however, advocated caution in dealings with Pakistan. "We have to feel our way through. We are in the outcomes business."
While appreciating the role played by the US, the sources stated that India had to come up with its own response. They would not set a timeframe for New Delhi to respond to this provocation.
Rice in Islamabad
President Zardari, after declining India's demand to hand over fugitives from the law, promised US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that it would take "strong action" against anyone on its territory found to have been involved in the Mumbai attacks.
"The government will not only assist in investigation but also take strong action against any Pakistani elements found involved in the attack," Zardari said in a statement issued after he met with Rice.
"I found the Pakistani leadership very focused and committed to act," Rice told reporters after talks with Zardari, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and army chief Parvez Kayani.
"Everybody wants to prevent further attacks…I hope that they will keep the lines of communication open," Rice added when asked how the Indian and Pakistani governments could work productively.
Prior to her Islamabad meetings, she stressed, "Pakistan has to determine its own response here. It just needs to be a robust response and it needs to be effective."
Mullen meets Antony
Admiral Mike Mullen, who arrived in New Delhi from Islamabad, met National Security Adviser MK Narayanan, Defence Minister AK Antony and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta. "He thanked Indian officials for their restraint and their desire to cooperate with Pakistani officials in the pursuit of those responsible for the (Mumbai) attacks," a US embassy statement said.
(With agency inputs)