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Indian PM: Train Blasts 'Supported by Elements Across the Border'


Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says the perpetrators of this week's deadly train bombings in Bombay were "inspired and supported" by "elements across the border," a clear reference to Pakistan. Mr. Singh says Pakistan must rein in terrorists operating from its territory, before the peace process between the two neighboring nations can make progress.

After visiting victims of the bomb blasts in two Bombay hospitals Friday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it would be "exceedingly difficult" to move ahead with a peace process with Pakistan, if Islamabad does not control terror groups mounting attacks in India.

"Pakistan in 2004 has solemnly given an assurance that Pakistani territory will not be used to promote, encourage, aid and abet the terrorist elements directed against India," said Mr. Singh. "That assurance has to be fulfilled, before the peace process or other processes can make progress."

The Indian leader, without naming Pakistan specifically, charged that terror groups operating in Bombay and other parts of India have the support of "elements" in that country.

"We are also certain that these terror modules are instigated, inspired and supported by elements across the border, without which they cannot act with such devastating effect," he added. "They clearly want to destroy our growing economic strength, to destroy our unity and provoke communal incidents."

The tough words came the same day Indian media reports quoted intelligence officials as suggesting that Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI), was involved in the Bombay blasts.

The accusations have drawn a sharp denial from Islamabad. Pakistan was the first to condemn the attacks, and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has offered to assist in the probe. Pakistani officials have also warned against "knee-jerk" reactions that blame Pakistan for whatever happens in India.

The South Asian rivals began a peace process in 2004, after coming to the brink of war in 2002 over Indian accusations that Islamabad abets terror groups operating in Indian Kashmir. Tensions have ebbed, but there has been little progress in resolving the major point of dispute between them, which is Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Indian investigators continued to search for clues to identify the bombers. Police are tracking records of phone calls to Pakistan and the Middle East, as they investigate the possible involvement of Islamic militant groups, especially the group called Laskhar-e-Taiba. They are also checking the possible involvement of smaller homegrown militant groups.

Police have released the photos of three wanted men, but say the three may not be the prime suspects. Officials admit they have no solid leads as yet in the coordinated bombings, which killed about 200 people and injured many hundreds more.

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