NEW DELHI — War with Pakistan is "no solution" to the problem of militants using Pakistani soil to launch anti-India attacks, India's foreign minister said on Thursday after demanding Pakistan hand over 40 people.
One of those suspects, the founder of a militant group blamed by India and U.S. officials for the attack on Mumbai, said a U.N. decision to put him and the charity he heads on a terrorist list defamed Pakistan.
India has been angry at what it sees as the Pakistani government's tolerance of militants, and has demanded Pakistan act against those it blames for Mumbai and earlier attacks including one in 2001 that nearly thrust the nuclear-armed foes into a fourth war.
"We have given them lists of 40 persons not one, not 20, lists of 40 persons and we have also pointed out that their denial is not going to resolve the issue," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told Indian parliament on Thursday.
Indian officials had previously demanded that Pakistan hand over 20 suspected militants, some of them linked to last month's Mumbai attack in which 179 people were killed by gunmen that Indian police say are from Pakistan.
Asked by an angry lawmaker why India was not attacking Pakistan after so much proof of its complicity in fomenting trouble in India, Mukherjee replied: "That is no solution."
Washington has engaged in intensive diplomacy to stop tensions from mounting between Pakistan and India and keep Islamabad focused on fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Keeping up the pressure on Pakistan, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte arrived in Islamabad on Thursday to discuss "regional issues" an embassy spokesman said.
He was expected to meet with Pakistan's president and foreign minister, following up after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited both India and Pakistan last week.
Global pressure has seen Pakistan raid several Islamist militant training camps and detain or arrest some of the militant leaders India wants extradited.
Pakistani security forces have arrested around 20 militants in raids, an intelligence official told Reuters on Thursday.
But Mukherjee said that alone was not enough.
"Therefore if it is not followed to the logical conclusion — complete dismantling of the infrastructure facilities available from that side to facilitate terrorist attack, of banning the organizations — how does that help us?" he said.
Analysts say Pakistani intelligence has ties to some of those India wants, and that its civilian government risks political fallout if it acts against them.
India's list includes the founders of at least two Kashmiri militant groups fighting Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan region that New Delhi says have broadened their activity to attack other Indian cities as well.
The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday added one of those men, Hafiz Saeed, and the Pakistani charity he runs to its terrorist list, after receiving a request from the United States.
"We will not accept any decision taken under Indian pressure," Saeed told a news conference in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore. "This decision was taken to defame Pakistan."
Saeed led the Lashkar-e-Taiba jihadi group until December 2001, when he quit a few days before Pakistan complied with a U.S. move to put the group on a list of individuals and organizations with links to al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Three other Pakistanis associated with Lashkar were also put on the list, which sanctions a freeze on assets.
Saeed, one of the most wanted men in India, has since headed Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity analysts and diplomats regard as a front for Lashkar, the group Saeed founded in 1990 to fight Indian rule in Kashmir.
Rehman Malik, the head of Pakistan's Interior Ministry, said the government was deliberating what action to take against Jamaat-ud-Dawa in the wake of the U.N. decision.
India's minister in charge of security on Thursday also said a major overhaul of the intelligence and policing capabilities was underway, including more spies and police, modern gadgets and the creation of a national investigation agency.
The move comes after criticism the government was not doing enough to prevent attacks like Mumbai and a string of bombings, because of vast gaps in its intelligence and security apparatus.
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