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We will do what needs to be done: Pranab

December 02, 2008 18:13 IST
Last Updated: December 02, 2008 20:30 IST

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Sending a tough message, India on Tuesday said it has demanded the handing over of Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Mohammad and other fugitives in Pakistan in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks [Images] and would await Islamabad's [Images] response.

In significant remarks, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said only time will show what will be done by India but made it clear that nobody was talking about military action.

"Now, we have in our demarche asked (for) the arrest and handover of those persons who are settled in Pakistan and who are fugitives of Indian law," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on the sidelines of a function to inaugurate the India-Arab Forum.

Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday and issued a demarche (protest note).

"...there are lists of about 20 persons. (These) lists are sometimes altered and this exercise is going on and we have renewed it in our demarche," Mukherjee said, adding that India will await Pakistan's response.

India has handed over to Pakistan a list of 20 terrorists, including Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Mohammad and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar besides Dawood Ibrahim [Images], who are based in that country and are suspected to be behind terror attacks in India.

Investigations into the three-day Mumbai terror strikes that left 183 dead have shown that the plan to carry out the attacks was hatched in Pakistan, suspectedly by Lashkar-e-Toiba and the perpetrators of the ghastly act came from Karachi by ships and boats.

Asked about US President-elect Barack Obama's [Images] suggestion that India has the right to protect itself, Mukherjee said, "what will be done, time will show and you will come to know."

When told that this could be misinterpreted as military action, Mukherjee said, "There is no misinterpretation. Nobody is talking of military action."

The comment is significant as there are fears in the US as also in Pakistan that India may consider military action in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks carried out by 'elements' based in Pakistan.

Islamabad has been in a denial mode but India says it has hard evidence to show Pakistani link.

New Delhi's [Images] outrage was voiced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images], who said India will not tolerate use of territories by its neighbours for launching attacks in this country and that there will be a 'cost' to it.

The US is also building pressure on Pakistan, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [Images], who arrives in New Delhi on Wednesday for talks with Indian leaders, saying Islamabad must 'follow evidence wherever it leads' and lend 'absolute and transparent' cooperation to New Delhi in the probe into the Mumbai terror strikes.

On the solidarity shown by the world leaders, including the US President-elect, with India in the aftermath of the Mumbai incidents, the External Affairs Minister said: "We appreciate the responses which we have received from all over the world, including Obama."

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