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Pakistan has to extradite terror suspects: India
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
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January 05, 2009 18:46 IST
Last Updated: January 06, 2009 13:10 IST

It was a hectic day for Indian diplomacy when India pushed Pakistan to the wall by sending substantial material to Islamabad [Images] related to the Mumbai [Images] terror attack.

On Monday, in New Delhi [Images], both United States and China stood firmly behind India on the issue of terrorism.

While speaking about Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei's visit to New Delhi Foreign Secretary Shiv Shanker Menon said, "We have shared some materials (regarding Mumbai attacks and involvement of elements from Pakistan) with China. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] has already spoken to the Chinese premier. What we do see is a strong condemnation from China of terrorism and the Mumbai attacks. On the issue of terrorism, China stands firmly with us."

Menon said Yafei told India that it 'was there strategic partner and that Pakistan is a close friend of China'. The visiting Chinese dignitary also said that China stood firmly with India when it came to terrorism and will co-operate with India on the issue.

 "We have a joint working group on counter-terrorism with China. We will make sure it works," Menon told media persons.

Menon said along with bilateral relations and discussions about G-20 meet scheduled in London [Images], Yafei briefed India about his talks with Pakistan last week even as he was given material that has emerged from investigation into the Mumbai attacks.

Menon emphasized that the Mumbai attack probe was still ongoing and that it was far from over. He also said India had given not evidences but "materials" related to the Mumbai attacks to other countries, including Pakistan.

'It is clear conspiracy was planned in Pakistan'

He said most of the investigations now need to be done in Pakistan.

"It is clear that crime was committed in India but the conspiracy was planned in Pakistan," he said.

Menon refused to answer questions on possible moves of Pakistan with regard to the investigation, terming them as hypothetical. He said India wanted legal assistance within the parameters of established conventions that can lead up to extradition of perpetrators of terror.

The foreign secretary said so far, India had seen denial or confusing and contradictory statements from Pakistan.

'There is no such thing as non-State actor'

Menon, rebuffed the distinction made by Pakistan by dubbing terrorist as Non-State actors.

"We don't think there is any such thing as a non-State actor. These non-State actors function within a State. They are citizen of the State. We found that distinction almost impossible to believe," he said.

When asked by if Iran and China were possibly pursuing Pakistan to make it understand India's expectations, Menon said, "I don't want to go into how individual country has reacted. We have been heartened by the response we have got across the board. Iranian Foreign minister was here. What we heard from him was clear condemnation of what happened in Mumbai.

"I think it is clear where world stands on these kinds of terrorist attacks. I think world is horrified by the scale and nature of this attack. The barbarity of the attack was unprecedented. I am sure this time it will encourage countries to try and encourage Pakistan to certain thing. That is our expectation. That's why we are briefing our friends around the world."

When asked by if Pakistan was still in a denial mode, Menon said, "I have made it clear to Pakistan what we expect and what we hope might happen in future. They might have been in denial in past but we have been told by Pakistan. They are ready to co-operate with us. We will like to see from real co-operation. Proof of the pudding is in eating."

Menon said, "Frankly, what we have seen so far does not impress us. What we want is very clear. We want perpetrators to face Indian justice and to guarantee that there are no terrorist attacks from Pakistan from India. That's our goal."

India maintains that Pakistan has sent no information, officially, regarding any arrests made after the Mumbai attacks. In 2002, after the attack on Indian Parliament few arrests were made in Pakistan but in three months Lashkar operatives were released and were "back in business."

JuD, which was declared a terrorist organization in December, is still functioning and is updating its website.

'India presented a very strong case'

Earlier in the day, while at the US Embassy in New Delhi, Ambassador [Images] David Mulford told media persons, "We will pursue this matter (investigation of Mumbai attacks by FBI) to its conclusion."

"India presented a very strong case. We will examine it," said Australian High Commissioner John McCarthy after the briefing by India.

Asked about what India had given to friendly countries against Pakistan-based elements' involvement in Mumbai attacks, Menon said the country had provided them material from the interrogation of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab [Images] -- the Pakistani national who is in police custody, details of terrorists' communication links with elements in Pakistan during the attack and details of the recovered weapons and equipment from the attack sites and from the boat.

India has also provided the data retrieved from recovered GPS and satellite phones, which the terrorists were using while in Mumbai to communicate with their handlers in Pakistan.

When asked if India has given any evidence of involvement of ISI or former ISI members, Menon said the November 26 attacks were large scale and could not have been carried out without the knowledge of the Pakistani establishment.

The relationship that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images] has enjoyed with the ISI in the past is a matter of history, he said, adding that it's a very thin line to draw between who is ISI, who is not ISI, and so on. It "actually beggars the imagination" that no Pakistani officials knew about preparations for the assault on India's financial hub.

'Pakistan is bound to extradite criminals'

When asked by a Pakistani journalist why India was not accepting the proposal for a joint investigation, Menon said, "We are all quite clear that jurisdiction rests with country where the crime is committed. This time, crime is committed in India but conspiracy is in Pakistan. We will investigate in India. We expect Pakistan to investigate in Pakistan and provide legal assistance to us as she is obliged under various conventions that exists.

We have existing mechanism but as history of attacks shows, they have not been able to prevent such attacks."

Menon said, "Under several international instruments, with or without bilateral treaty for extradition, in a terrorist attack of this nature, Pakistan is obliged to extradite criminals. Someone was saying that Pakistan never extradites anybody. Then, we can say that a Pakistani criminal commits crime in India and manages to get back to Pakistan has the immunity. That's what it will amount to."

He added that under the SAARC convention, Pakistan was bound to extradite criminals.

India has shared all the evidence found so far with Pakistan. The DNA sample has not been sent, but it's available, Menon said.

He said: "It is hard to believe that something of this scale, that took so long in preparation and of this nature, which amounts really to a commando attack, could occur without anyone in the establishment knowing that this was happening."

When asked what India expected now from Pakistan, Menon said Pakistan is obliged to extradite 26/11 plotters to India. Menon said: "You see it is quite clear that what we would like from the Pakistani authorities is all the information related to this crime. We want to know how this conspiracy was formed, how it was carried out, the training, the planning, the organisation and the actual handling, how that was done."

Menon said External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee [Images] had written to his counterparts across the world, giving a detailed brief on the events of Mumbai.

We need cast iron guarantees'

Whether the intense diplomacy that New Delhi got engaged in on Monday will force Pakistan to get out of the denial mode or not is what India would like to see. Home Minister P Chidambaram [Images] clearly spelt it out clearly in a television interview.

'What we now want is cast iron guarantees' that no state actors or non-state ones will be allowed to use Pakistani soil or sources to launch an attack on India,' Chidambaram said.

'Guarantees have to come from those who control the levers of power and that means, the elected civilian government, plus the army. These are not guarantees that you can execute on a piece of paper. These are guarantees that have to be given to the international community,' he told television channel NDTV.

It is believed that Chidambaram has expressed his views in black and white because

Indian intelligence establishment has, reportedly, found the link between terrorists in Mumbai to former ISI Director General Lt General Nadeem Taj and an officer of the agency. 

Taj has had a notorious reputation for helping Taliban [Images]. He replaced Lt Gen Pervez Kiyani, the then chief of ISI.

A former chief of Research and Analysis Wing told, "I believe that New Delhi's diplomacy after the Mumbai attacks is more about stopping any further attacks. It wants to ensure that till the next election, no further mischief is done by Pakistan."

He said, "India's case against Pakistan in Mumbai attacks may be strong but investigation of such cases will take months and may be years. India wants to ensure that there is no repetition of such attacks. Chidambaram's only job is to prevent terrorist attacks."

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