‘Mumbai terror strikes aimed at disrupting Indian polity’

December 20th, 2008 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) Keeping up the pressure on Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Saturday said the Mumbai terror strikes were planned and aimed at disrupting the Indian polity.Describing the 26/11 attacks as a “cold and calculated attempt to hit at the Indian polity”, Mukherjee maintained that they were not accidental or unplanned.

While not pointing a finger directly at Pakistan, the minister said that Muhammed Ajmal Amir alias Kasab, the lone Mumbai attacker who was caught, had given a “chilling account” of who his “outside” handlers and trainers were.

Mukherjee’s remarks came a day after former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif admitted that Kasab indeed belongs to Pakistan’s Punjab province, as has been maintained by India.

The official Pakistani version of Kasab’s antecedents has been a flip-flop. After first demanding evidence to establish his Pakistan links, Islamabad said outright that he was not a Pakistani.

However, Sharif Friday said: “I have checked myself. His (Kasab) house and village has been cordoned off by the security agencies. His parents are not allowed to meet anybody. I don’t understand why it has been done.”

Mukherjee’s remarks also came amid reports that India may launch military strikes in Pakistan-administered Kashmir as well as other places in Pakistan.

In a report, global intelligence service Stratfor said: “Indian military operations against targets in Pakistan have, in fact, been prepared and await the signal to go forward.”

Mukherjee had Friday made it clear that India was obliged to “consider the entire range of options that exist” with the failure of Pakistan to deliver on its promise of not supporting terror activities on its soil.

At least 170 people were killed and nearly 300 injured in last month’s terror attacks on Mumbai.

If Pakistan cannot keep the promises made to India on not supporting terrorist activities, India would be obliged to “consider the entire range of options that exist” to protect itself, Mukherjee said in a statement released in Gangtok Friday.

“Terrorism remains a scourge for our region. If a country cannot keep the assurances that it has given, then it obliges us to consider the entire range of options that exist to protect our interests and people from this menace,” he maintained.

“We have made repeated appeals to our neighbours over the years to ensure that they do not provide support to terrorist activities and to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure… but our pleas have been ignored in spite of assurances given by them,” the minister said.

Sikkim University Vice Chancellor Mahendra P. Lama read out Mukherjee’s message at the inauguration of a three-day international conference on “Sub-regionalism Approach to Regional Integration in South Asia: Prospects and Opportunities”.

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