( Reuters ) - Criticising the bomb attack on former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as reprehensible, old rival India indirectly urged Islamabad on Friday to do more to curb "terrorism" in the region.
India's condemnation came hours after 133 people were killed in a suspected suicide bomb attack aimed at Bhutto as she was driven through Karachi to greet supporters on her return from eight years in exile.
"We strongly condemn the terrorist attack in Karachi yesterday," Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said. "It is reprehensible that senior political figures are targeted in this way with such loss of innocent life."
"The spectre of terrorism confronting our region requires strong and determined action by all our governments," he said in a statement.
The attack on Bhutto came as the nuclear-armed neighbours began a new series of peace talks on Thursday as part of a larger peace process they launched in 2003/04 after coming close to the brink of war.
The two sides discussed conventional security issues on Thursday, are due to review nuclear security measures on Friday and will hold the second meeting of a joint counter-terrorism panel on Monday.
While the dialogue has reduced tensions, it has lost momentum over the key Kashmir dispute, and with both governments hemmed in by domestic politics, few analysts expect a breakthrough in the near future.
New Delhi also continues to point fingers at Pakistan-based Islamist militant groups and Pakistan's military spy agency for frequent bomb attacks in India even though it has not been able to produce much in terms of hard evidence.
India also says that rising militant attacks within Pakistan showed how Islamist groups there were turning against their own masters, who it says aided such outfits in the past.
On Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the peace process had slowed down due to Pakistan's internal troubles, the Indian Express newspaper quoted him as telling reporters on his plane on the way back from a visit to Africa. Asked if the return of Bhutto, who is expected to lead her party in national polls, would speed the process, Singh said: "The new political order in Pakistan is yet to take shape."