Indians angry as 'never before' over attacks: PM
India has been angered "as never before" by the attacks in Mumbai, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said yesterday, as his new home minister hinted at growing evidence of Pakistani involvement.
"We have told the world that the people of India have felt a sense of hurt and anger as never before due to the Mumbai terror strikes," Singh said following talks here with visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
The attacks by Islamist gunmen against multiple targets in India's financial capital nine days ago killed 163 people, including 26 foreigners. Nine militants were killed, while one was captured alive.
"It is the obligation of all concerned that perpetrators of this horrible crime are brought to book," Singh said.
India says all 10 gunmen involved in the assault came from Pakistan, and has handed Islamabad a list of 20 terror suspects, with demands for their arrest and extradition.
Suspicion has focused on Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group which has fought Indian control of divided Kashmir. Lashkar was blamed for an attack on the Indian parliament in 2001, which pushed the two nations to the brink of war.
Earlier Friday, Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram clearly had Pakistani groups in mind when he spoke of proof that elements outside the country were responsible.
"There is ample evidence to show that the source of the terrorist attack was clearly linked to organisations which have in the past been identified as being behind terrorist attacks in India," Chidambaram said.
"There are one or two countries which have broadly confirmed our preliminary conclusions," he added.
The United States has been sharing intelligence with India in the wake of the Mumbai bloodshed.
Chidambaram acknowledged there had been some security and intelligence "lapses" prior to the attacks.
"These are being looked into and I will do my utmost ... to overcome the causes of these lapses and try to improve the effectiveness of the security system," he said.
CNN and other US networks reported that the United States had warned India in October that hotels and business centres in Mumbai would be targeted by attackers coming from the sea.
One US intelligence official even named the Taj Mahal hotel, one of 10 sites hit in the 60-hour siege by gunmen, as a specific target, ABC television said.
Several Indian newspapers on Friday cited unidentified intelligence sources as saying that Pakistan's powerful spy agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), was involved in training the gunmen.
The Indian Express said intercepts of conversations between the gunmen and their handlers showed the use of communication pathways often used by the ISI.
"We are 100 percent convinced that the ISI is involved," the India Abroad News Service quoted a highly placed intelligence source as saying.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Islamabad Thursday in an effort to defuse tension in the region after visiting New Delhi the previous day.
Rice said it was crucial for the Pakistani government to provide full and transparent cooperation with the Indian investigations.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said he was determined that his country would not be used to orchestrate attacks or shelter terrorists and vowed "strong action" against any Pakistani elements involved.
Indian jitters following the attacks saw New Delhi's international airport locked down for about 40 minutes overnight Thursday after security guards heard what they thought were gunshots.
The incident was finally dismissed as a false alarm.
Security was tightened across India after the Mumbai attacks, and the alert level at several airports was raised even higher Thursday after Defence Minister AK Antony warned of possible "terror strikes from the air."