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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

India slams Pakistan for linking Mumbai blasts to Kashmir dispute

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India slammed rival Pakistan for linking their decades-old disputes over Kashmir to the wave of bomb attacks on rush-hour trains that killed 183 in the country's financial hub Mumbai.

"We find it appalling that (Pakistan) Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri should seek to link this act of terror to the lack of resolution of the dispute between India and Pakistan," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said.

"His remarks appear to suggest that Pakistan will cooperate with India against the scourge of terrorist violence only if the so-called disputes are resolved. Terrorism cannot be tolerated on any ground whatsoever and no cause justifies the murder of innocents," Sarna told reporters.

"We would hope that the government of Pakistan rejects any such linkage and joins hands together with India to defeat the forces of terrorism."

Kasuri, in comments to an Indian television station on Tuesday's bombings, called on India to resolve its dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir -- the subject of two of the three wars between the nuclear-armed rivals.

"...If you have these disputes, it enables negative forces in both the countries to blame the other country and exploit the sentiment and one cannot be certain," Kasuri told CNN-IBN.

"So I think we should try and take advantage of this improved atmosphere (between India and Pakistan) and resolve outstanding differences particularly the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir," the Pakistani foreign minister said in Washington.

Sarna said Islamic militants continued to operate from Pakistan despite Islamabad's promise that it will not allow its soil to be used as a springboard for attacks against India.

"We urge Pakistan to take urgent steps to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on the territory under its control," the Indian spokesman added.

At least 714 people were injured in the attacks on the trains in the western Indian city.
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