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Singh: India Will Not Let Mumbai Terror Attacks Hatched in Pakistan Happen Again

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says he welcomes Pakistani steps to rein in extremists. But he says Pakistan must do everything it can to punish those who planned and carried out the Mumbai attacks last year.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Sighn speaks at a news conference in Washington, D.C., 25 Nov 2009
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Sighn speaks at a news conference in Washington, D.C., 25 Nov 2009

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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says he welcomes Pakistani steps to rein in extremists.  But he says Pakistan must do everything it can to punish those who planned and carried out the Mumbai attacks last year.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says his government will do everything possible to prevent another terrorist attack like the one last year in Mumbai.

Mr. Singh  spoke to reporters Wednesday, a day after President Obama honored him at an elaborate state visit.

"India's commitment to an open democratic and secular polity will not be shaken by such assaults on our way of life," he said.

Pakistani prosecutors have charged seven men with planning and helping to carry out last year's Mumbai terror attacks that killed more than 160 people.

"Our position is very clear since the conspiracy was hatched basically in Pakistan, it is the obligation of the government of Pakistan to do everything in their power to bring these perpetrators to justice," said the Indian prime minister.

Mr. Singh said the Mumbai attacks figured prominently in his talks with President Obama and other administration officials.

"I have discussed this matter with the president and also with Secretary of State. I have been assured that the U.S. influence [on Pakistan] will work," he said.

Islamic extremism in Pakistan is a major concern for India and the United States. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, and ties between them are sensitive.
 
Washington has pressed Pakistan not to feel threatened by India and focus more on its fight against extremists operating along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

That effort recently has shown progress as Pakistan's army wages a major offensive against Islamic militants on its northwestern frontier with Afghanistan.
  
Mr. Singh also raised Indian fears about Pakistani Taliban forces moving away from their traditional bases.

"We are worried about the activities of the Taliban now covering the mainland cities and towns of Pakistan, particularly of Punjab. That is a threat to security not only for Pakistan, but also for the security of our country," he said.

Mr. Singh sought to ease worries in Pakistan about possible Indian aggression. He said India believes a strong and peaceful Pakistan is in its national interests. "Pakistan faces no threat whatsoever from our country," he said.

Mr. Singh said he is leaving Washington with confidence that his talks have deepened understanding with the U.S. and given a new direction to the strategic partnership so that it would serve the national interests of both countries.

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