Book Mumbai terror masterminds; India keeping options open: Antony to Pakistan (Lead)

January 7th, 2009 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) Asserting that India had “all available and possible options” open, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Wednesday asked Pakistan to book those who gave “inspiration, direction and support” to the terrorists who staged the Mumbai terror attacks and to “dismantle” the terror outfits functioning from its territory.Antony’s statement that “no serious” attempts were made by Pakistan to disband the terror outfits, came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh charged Pakistan with using terrorism as “state policy”.

“There are two things. Those persons who gave inspiration, direction and support (to the terrorists in Mumbai) should be booked. Secondly, more than 30 terror outfits are active across the border. To dismantle them is the duty of the (Pakistani) government,” Antony told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

“After 26/11, there are no serious attempts to disband the terror outfits across the border and that is a major worry…. We are examining all available, possible options to prevent a repeat of this kind of infiltration and tragic incidents like what happened in Mumbai,” Antony said, declining to elaborate on the options available.

India Tuesday turned the heat on Pakistan, with the prime minister not mincing words in holding the Pakistan government complicit in the Mumbai terror attack. The prime minister said there was “enough evidence to show” that Pakistani official agencies had supported the terror strike on Nov 26 in which “10 Pakistani terrorists… came by sea from Karachi”.

“Terrorism, on the other hand, is largely sponsored from outside the country, mainly Pakistan, which has utilised terrorism as an instrument of state policy,” asserted the prime minister Tuesday, a day after the government handed over material evidence linking Pakistan based militants to the Mumbai attack.

Antony Wednesday also met Indian Army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor against the backdrop of a fierce gun battle in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir that entered its seventh day.

According to the minister, the operation is taking time as the effort is to ensure “minimum” casualties among army personnel.

“I had discussions with the army chief and they have a plan on how to handle this situation. The basic approach is that they should flush out militants with minimum casualties to our armed forces,” Antony maintained.

Cautioning that the infiltration bids from across the border would rise in summer, Antony said that the armed forces have to be “eternally vigilant”.

“We have to be eternally vigilant. We can not lower our guard and our armed forces should be ever ready,” Antony maintained.

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