India Calls for Pakistan to Hand Over 40 Suspects
India has called for Pakistan to hand over 40 suspects after the terror attacks that left 171 dead, a move that has raised tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals, but the foreign minister said Thursday that war is "not the solution."
The list of fugitives includes militants suspected in last month's Mumbai attacks, as well as those who have committed "other crimes" against India in the past, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in his first speech to parliament since the Mumbai siege last month.
He said he had told Pakistani leaders, "You arrest them, and hand over to us."
Islamabad said it will arrest anyone proved linked to terror crimes and try them in Pakistani courts.
Pakistani authorities have arrested two senior leaders from Lashkar-e-Taiba, the banned Pakistani-based militant group suspected in the Mumbai attacks. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah are in Pakistani custody and are under investigation.
Officials have said Lakhvi was arrested Sunday in a raid on a militant camp close to the Indian border.
Mukherjee also urged Islamabad to go further by dismantling terrorist operations and camps believed rooted in the country.
"What we are telling the government of Pakistan is to act," Mukherjee said.
Mukherjee appeared to soften hawkish talk Thursday when he said, in response to a lawmaker, war "is not the solution."
Earlier, he had said India was "determined to act decisively ... with all the means at our disposal."
Meanwhile, India announced a massive overhaul of its security and intelligence agencies Thursday in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks that left 171 dead and provoked a public outcry over the government's response.
Among the new measures, the government will seek to create an FBI-style national investigative agency, beef up coastal security, better train local police, strengthen anti-terror laws and increase intelligence sharing, said Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, the country's top law enforcement official.
"Given the nature of the threat, we can't go back to business as usual," Chidambaram said in a speech to India's Parliament, adding he would "take certain hard decisions to prepare the country and people to face the challenge of terrorism."
The revamp represents the government's first detailed response to widespread public anger over security and intelligence failures in the attacks. Chidambaram has previously apologized for government "lapses" in the assault.
Meanwhile, police in Mumbai backed off of plans to produce the only surviving attacker, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, in court Thursday for a routine hearing, citing security concerns.
Instead, a magistrate came to police headquarters and granted authorities permission to hold Kasab for a further two weeks, public prosecutor Eknath Dhamal said, without providing details of the decision. Under Indian law, police can extend detentions for months on end before formal criminal charges are filed.
Kasab, who was captured by police early in the Nov. 26 attack, has been interrogated by authorities and reportedly offered key details about the planning of the assault and those responsible for it.
Many lawyers across the city, horrified by the attacks, have said they would not represent Kasab. On Thursday, Dinesh Mota, a lawyer asked by the court to defend Kasab, said he would refuse.
"I will not represent him, it is against all human values," he said.
On Wednesday, police identified two more people involved in the training of the 10 attackers.
One of the trainers, identified only as Khafa and described as a senior operative in the banned Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, was their main handler after the men were selected for the attack, Rakesh Maria, Mumbai's chief police investigator.
The other man, another senior Lashkar militant identified as Abu Hamza, was responsible for much of the training they received while sequestered in a house in Azizabad, Pakistan, for three months to prepare for the attack, Maria said.
Abu Hamza was believed to be one of two gunmen responsible for the 2005 attack on the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, that killed one scientist, Maria said. After that attack, Abu Hamza escaped back to Pakistan, he said.
Late Wednesday, U.N. Security Council panel declared Jamaat-ud-Dawa a terrorist organization, subject to U.N. sanctions, as sought by India and the U.S. It specifically designated four men connected to Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar as terrorists, including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the suspected mastermind of the attacks.
The U.N. Security Council called Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which casts itself as a charity, a front group for Lashkar.