India and Pakistan try to calm fears of war

India is not considering military action against Pakistan in wake of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai that left 188 dead, the country's foreign minister said Monday.

Preliminary investigations into the attacks launched by heavily armed gunmen, who are believed to have reached Mumbai by a sea route, have pointed to an Islamic militant group based in Pakistan, reported dpa.

"Nobody is talking of military action," India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee was quoted as saying by IANS news agency.

Pakistan on Tuesday offered India a joint investigation into the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

"The government of Pakistan has offered a joint investigating mechanism, a joint commission. We are ready to jointly get to the bottom of this matter," Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in a policy address.

"We are ready to propose a team that would help you (Indian) in the probe," he added.

Indian minister Mukherjee said India was awaiting a response from Pakistan on extradition of 20 fugitives who were believed to be living in that country.

"We issued a demarche (on Monday). We are waiting for a response from Pakistan," Mukherjee said.

Qureshi did not speak publicly about India's extradition demand, but he said Pakistanis need not be concerned over the growing tensions between the two countries.

The government and army are united and they are fully capable of defending "Pakistan's borders, Pakistan's geography and ideology," the foreign minister said.

A group of 10 heavily armed gunmen attacked two luxury hotels, a railway station, a hospital and a Jewish centre among other targets in south Mumbai on Wednesday.

Three days of carnage followed during which the gunmen fired indiscriminately and lobbed grenades.

Investigations into the Mumbai terrorist attacks, including interrogation of a captured terrorist, has indicated the involvement of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic militant group based in Pakistan.

Nine of the terrorists were killed by Indian security forces and one was captured.

India's Ministry for External Affairs summoned Pakistani envoy Shahid Shahid Malik on Monday and informed him that the Mumbai attacks were carried out by elements based in Pakistan, and demanded action.

The envoy was also handed a list of most-wanted criminals that included Mumbai crime lord Dawood Ibrahim, the alleged mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai bombings.

The list also included Masood Azhar, a leader of the Islamic militant jaish-e-Mohammed group, and Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, who are suspected to have a hand in major terror strikes in India.

"They must arrest and hand over who are settled in Pakistan and wanted under Indian law," Mukherjee said.

"International community is behind us, including the newly elected US president Barack Obama," Mukherjee said.

India also told the envoy that if Islamabad wanted to improve relations, it must back up its January 2004 pledge to not allow its territory to be used for attacks against India.

Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from colonial rule in 1947, two of them over the disputed Kashmir region.

The US government, which is trying to calm down both the countries, urged Pakistan to help India investigate.

"I don't want to jump to any conclusions myself on this, but I do think that this is a time for complete, absolute, total transparency and cooperation," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in London.

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