India says Pakistan seems serious on Mumbai probe

NEW DELHI  – Pakistan seems serious about investigating the Mumbai attacks and has sought clarifications on a dossier of evidence from India, but still is not doing enough to tackle militancy, India’s national security adviser said.

“What I am aware of is that after the receipt of the dossier by Pakistan, the Pakistan government have reverted to us and asked a number of questions to which answers have been provided,” M.K. Narayanan told CNN-IBN television in a weekend interview.

“… certainly they appear to be taking things seriously and at least they are proceeding in a manner that one would expect an investigative agency to proceed. Asking queries and not taking everything that is given at the face value that has been given.”

India blamed the banned Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group for the attacks in Mumbai in which 179 people were killed and said there must have been support from Pakistani security agencies.

It then gave Pakistan a dossier containing the confession of a surviving attacker, satellite phone intercepts between the attackers and their handlers in Pakistan, and a list of Pakistani-made weapons used by the militants.

Narayanan’s comments were at odds with the steady rhetoric from Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee expressing frustration at what India sees as Pakistan’s slow progress in investigating and arresting the planners of the November attacks. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told Reuters last week that Islamabad would release details of its investigation into the attack “very soon.”

Narayanan said Pakistan had asked a second set of questions to which India had yet to reply.

“So as far as we are concerned, we believe that Pakistan is making an attempt to arrive at the truth. I assume that they are yet to receive (a) reply to the second set of queries they have made,” he said.

Narayanan’s comments came two days after Pakistan’s high commissioner to Britain said Islamabad’s investigation into the attacks has shown they were not planned in Pakistan.

Such a remark would generally give India reason to boost its rhetoric, but analysts said Narayanan’s statement only indicated a “state of confusion” in the government about how to react to Pakistan’s investigation.

“The tenor of Narayanan’s remarks indicate that Pakistan has been serious,” said Siddharth Varadarajan, strategic affairs editor of the Hindu newspaper.

“Clearly, there is confusion within the government as to the conclusion they want to arrive at about Pakistan’s response.”

International sympathy and support to India after the attacks forced Pakistan to crack down on militant groups and detain several Islamist leaders.

But some of that backing for India was diluted after its Western allies such as Britain and the United States said New Delhi may not have enough evidence to blame the Pakistani state.

Narayanan said he was not impressed with Pakistan’s crackdown on Islamist groups, calling them “cosmetic exercises.” He said the Islamist leaders it had detained, including people India accuses of plotting the attacks, were just “house guests.”

“What we really want is that the perpetrators or the masterminds, who have perpetrated this act should be brought to justice,” he said.

He urged Pakistan to hand them over for a trial in India.

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