The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delhi smells Pakistan hand

New Delhi, Aug. 26: India is coming round to the view that Pakistan engineered yesterday’s blasts through the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba.

There has been no official accusation yet, but enough hints were dropped today to make it clear that Delhi suspects Islamabad’s involvement.

As condolence messages poured in from US President George W. Bush — who said “acts of terror are intended to sow fear and chaos among free peoples” — and Russia, France, Germany and China joined in the condemnation, foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna summed up the mood. He said Delhi would find it “more difficult” to establish peace with its neighbour unless Pakistan takes urgent steps to stop terrorist acts in India.

“Action to eliminate terrorism cannot but have a positive bearing on the normalisation process,” Sarna said. The blasts, he added, were “a reminder that much more needs to be done to eliminate the menace of terrorism from our region”.

If the spokesman was cautious, deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani was not. He told reporters earlier in the day that the Lashkar’s involvement “raises doubt about our neighbour”.

In private, South Block officials said the Lashkar’s “links” with the Pakistani establishment are well known. “If the Lashkar is involved in the attacks, they could not have been carried out without the support of their bosses in Islamabad,” said an official. The officials said that one reason why India has not officially accused Pakistan is investigations are not yet complete. But indications emerging from the probe clearly point a finger towards Islamabad.

In an obvious reference to Pakistan, foreign minister Yashwant Sinha said proliferation with the risk of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups was Asia’s biggest threat. “This is particularly so in the immediate neighbourhood of India where it is possible to find the conjunction of authoritarian rule, religious fundamentalism, terrorism, drug trafficking and weapons of mass destruction,” Sinha said in Singapore.

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