Speaking at a joint news conference with visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said there was “no doubt” that the militants had come from and were coordinated from Pakistan .
“What action will be taken by the government will depend on the response we have from the Pakistan authorities,” he said, referring to India’s demand that Pakistan hand over 20 terrorist suspects.
“I am expecting the response, (and) after obtaining the response, whatever the government considers necessary to protect its territorial integrity, safety and security of its citizens, the government will do that,” he warned.
He said he had told Rice “that there is no doubt the terrorists were individuals who came from Pakistan and whose controllers are in Pakistan.”
The attacks against India’s economic capital — which began a week ago and lasted 60 hours — were carried out by 10 gunmen, some of whom arrived by boat.
Indian security forces detained one of the militants alive, and officials say he has admitted to being a Pakistani from Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist group based across the border and long seen as a creation of Pakistan’s shadowy spy service.
The targets included two luxury hotels , a Jewish centre, a popular cafe, a packed railway station and a hospital. The official toll of victims stands at 188 dead — among them 22 foreign nationals — and more than 300 wounded.
Although Rice said she refused to “jump to any conclusions about who is responsible,” US intelligence officials have supported India’s accusations.
“Pakistan needs to act with urgency and with resolve and cooperate fully and transparently,” said Rice, in India on an urgent one-day visit to discuss the crisis with her counterpart as well as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“The response of the Pakistan government should be one of cooperation and action. That is what we expect and we have been sending that message,” said Rice, who is expected in Pakistan on Thursday.
Ties between the South Asian rivals have been badly strained by the attacks, with New Delhi reportedly considering suspending their peace process.
The two countries have fought three wars since their 1947 independence from British rule, and both have nuclear weapons.
The chief of the United States military, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen , was also in Pakistan as part of Washington’s efforts to avert an escalation of the crisis.
He urged Pakistani leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari, “to investigate aggressively any and all possible ties to groups based in Pakistan,” a US embassy statement said.
He also urged Pakistan to do more in the battle against Al-Qaeda-linked militants in its tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, where security officials said air strikes late Wednesday had killed at least 30 Taliban fighters.
India remains on high alert a week after the attacks, with Indian police on Wednesday discovering and defusing more explosives left behind by the highly-trained gunmen at Mumbai’s main railway station.
Pakistan has suggested setting up a “joint investigation mechanism” but says it wants concrete proof that all the attackers were Pakistanis.
“The state of Pakistan is no way responsible,” Zardari told CNN.
“I think these are stateless actors who have been operating throughout the region. The gunmen, whoever they are, they are all stateless actors who are holding hostage the whole world.”
India hauled in the Pakistani ambassador earlier this week and demanded Pakistan arrest and extradite 20 terror suspects, including the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed.
But India’s security and intelligence agencies have come under intense criticism over their handling of the incident, which has already forced the resignation of interior minister Shivraj Patil.
US networks this week 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.
Indian media have also reported a string of alleged intelligence failures. -by Sylvie Lanteaume