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    India: Attack on Cricketers Demonstrates Need for Pakistan to Confront Terrorism

    Indian government officials say the attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team demonstrates Pakistan needs to do more to confront terrorism and proves India's decision was correct not to send its own sportsmen across the border.

    In wake of the attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team in Lahore, top Indian government officials are calling for Pakistan to take immediate steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in that country.
     
    India's foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee, says last November's attack on Mumbai and the attempt to kill visiting athletes in Lahore reiterates how serious the danger is from terrorism in Pakistan.
     
    "Unless the infrastructures, facilities available to terrorist organizations within the territory of Pakistan or under its control are completely dismantled and the perpetrators of the terror attacks are not brought to the justice, a repeat of these types of incidents may take place," he said.

    The Sri Lankan team had replaced India for a tour of Pakistan after India withdrew in wake of last November's assault on Mumbai. India contends all of the terrorists in the Mumbai attack came from Pakistan.
     
    Minister of state for external affairs, Anand Sharma, says India made a prudent decision for the safety of its cricketers.
     
    "India never wanted to come in the way of people-to-people contacts, which we have not done. But to save our own cricketers from any such threat we had taken the view [of not sending the Indian team to Pakistan]. It's painfully proven correct," said Sharma.

    Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram is criticizing Pakistan for not adequately protecting the high-profile foreign athletes.
     
    "It's quite clear that the security for the Sri Lankan cricket team was hopelessly inadequate," said Chidambaram.

    Political analysts and sport enthusiasts say the repercussions from the attack in Lahore may be felt for years to come. An immediate result is that no foreign team is likely to visit Pakistan again soon. In the longer term a debate is certain to be heard about whether Pakistan should host, as scheduled two years from now, the Cricket World Cup.
     
    For New Delhi, which is to hold the Commonwealth Games next year, security measures are likely to be reviewed after well-armed terrorists have demonstrated their ability, twice in less than four months, to target tourists and athletes in Mumbai and Lahore.


    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

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