Pakistan’s admission gets guarded welcome in India

February 12th, 2009 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) Pakistan’s admission that part of the Mumbai conspiracy was hatched in its territory got a guarded welcome in India Thursday and was seen as a vindication of its stand and the success of international pressure.
Diplomats and experts point out that New Delhi should now ensure that Islamabad does not get away by simply fixing some minor players in what could a larger conspiracy that could still unravel.

“It’s a vindication of our stand. This requires a sober and measured response,” Lalit Mansingh, former foreign secretary, told IANS.

“It’s a positive step. Pakistan’s interior minister has given a point-by-point response. The government should take it seriously and consider answers to some of these questions to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Mansingh said.

“At least they have admitted that part of the conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan. We are waiting for the details and specifics,” government sources told IANS.

K.C. Singh, former secretary in the external affairs ministry who co-chaired the anti-terror mechanism between India and Pakistan, said it was “a good beginning”, but was cautious about the larger implications about Pakistan’s internal probe that appears to have allowed high-value conspirators to go scot-free.

“They try to keep the big fish out. Principally, they are cutting out the chief conspirators,” Singh said. After admitting that part of the conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan, they are now trying to limit the damage, he said.

Some strategic experts said that Pakistan’s response, the first time Islamabad has admitted that it’s territory was involved in a terror attack in India, was the result of sustained international pressure.

“International pressure seems to have worked. They have accepted that the handlers were in Pakistan,” said K. Subrahmanyam, a well-known strategic expert.

“It’s a vindication of India’s stand to the extent that they were not able to contradict any piece of evidence given by India,” he said.

“They have opened the door. Now, it’s for us to see how we can take it forward. India should now ask Pakistan more questions, specially about the kind of training the terrorists received in Pakistan,” he said.

Ayesha Siddiqua, a Pakistani strategic expert, feels that international pressure was such that Islamabad had no choice but to respond to India’s dossier in an appropriate way.

“There was no way Islamabad could not respond to these allegations. Now they have done it,” she told a TV channel.

Other experts, however, warned against Pakistan’s dilatory tactics. “It’s a total eyewash. Basically, they are trying to appease the international community,” said Satish Chandra, former deputy national security adviser and former high commissioner to Pakistan.

“It’s the same old story. In concrete terms, all the big names seem to have escaped. We should now think of more extreme steps like downscaling our mission in Islamabad and make it costly for Pakistan to continue with such tactics,” Chandra said.

Disclosing the progress in Pakistan’s probe into the Nov 26-29 Mumbai attacks, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Thursday that nine persons have been named in an FIR registered in connection with the Mumbai attacks and six persons have been arrested. Malik said that Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, has been detained.

Pakistan also sought from India the DNA reports of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman captured during the Mumbai mayhem and the nine other terrorists killed during the assault to enable it to further its probe into the carnage.

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