India Points Finger at Pakistan Over Mumbai Terror Attacks

A tense relationship could get even rockier amid Indian demands that Pakistan hand over militants.

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The release of intelligence tying the perpetrators of last week's attacks in Mumbai to Pakistan, combined with the Indian government's demands that Pakistan hand over 20 fugitives, threaten to exacerbate growing tensions between the two countries.

Before all of the bodies were even counted, Indian government officials began to imply that Pakistan was involved. One day into the attacks, the Indian prime minister said that the violence had been caused by militants outside of the country. Many interpreted the statement as a thinly veiled accusation of Pakistan.

Two recent terror campaigns—the December 2001 attacks on India's Parliament and this summer's bombings of the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan—have been linked to Pakistani militants.

And U.S. counterterrorism officials are pointing fingers toward a militant Pakistani group called Lashkar-e-Taiba that operated out of the disputed enclave of Kashmir.

As recently as September, meanwhile, India's intelligence agency had information that terrorists based in Pakistan were planning to attack Mumbai. It's unknown whether that information was acted upon.

But the revelation now, in the wake of the attacks that killed at least 173, has caused more discord between the nations. Indian government officials told Pakistan's ambassador yesterday that Pakistanis had caused the attacks and would need to be punished.

The United States has also been firm toward Pakistan, pressuring it to assist in India's investigation. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit India on Wednesday.

With the diplomatic situation appearing to favor India, its reactions have become more muscular. Its first concrete demand of Pakistan came last night, with the submission of a list of 20 names for Pakistan to hand over. None of the fugitives are thought to be directly connected to the Mumbai attacks. But many of them are individuals whom India has attempted to arrest for years.

Pakistan has responded that now isn't the time for a "blame game." But that exercise already appears to be underway.