Indian PM warns Pakistan on terrorism

US India
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says last year's terror attacks in Mumbai were a "calculated attempt" to destabilize India.Charles Dharapak / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

India's prime minister said Wednesday that Pakistan must do more to punish the masterminds of last year's terrorist attacks in the Indian financial capital.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the Mumbai rampage that's blamed on a Pakistan-based extremist group, Manmohan Singh told reporters that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured him they would push Pakistan to act against terrorists who target India.

Hours before Singh's warning, Pakistan charged seven men in the Mumbai attacks, marking the first indictments in the case. Lawyers said the suspects, allegedly belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, pleaded not guilty to charges they helped plan and execute the attacks.

Singh said he had not heard of the charges. But he said that because the attacks were planned in Pakistan, it is that government's obligation to do everything it can to bring all the perpetrators to justice.

He said the attacks, which killed 166 people and halted a fragile peace process between the nuclear-armed rivals, were a "calculated attempt by forces outside our country" to destabilize India and undermine its progress.

"Such forces should have no doubt that they will fail in their nefarious attempts," Singh said a day after President Barack Obama honored him in an elaborate state visit.

War against militants
Extremism in Pakistan is a major source of worry for both India and the United States. Ties are sensitive between India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.

Washington is pressing Pakistan to turn away from its traditional enemy India and focus more on its fight against extremists operating along the Afghan-Pakistani border. That effort has shown recent progress as Pakistan's army wages a major offensive against Islamic militants on its northwestern frontier with Afghanistan.

In the past, Pakistan has failed to punish militants suspected of attacks on India. Pakistan's security agencies have a long history of supporting militant groups to use as proxies against India. Pakistan says it no longer does this, but many powerful Pakistani politicians and army officers are believed to remain sympathetic to groups attacking India.

Despite his tough words, Singh also sought to ease worries in Pakistan about possible Indian aggression. Singh said India believes a strong and peaceful Pakistan is in its national interests.

"Pakistan faces no threat whatsoever from our country," Singh said.