The FINANCIAL — NEW DELHI, India has not ruled out military operations against terrorists in Pakistan if Islamabad does not deal with terrorists based on its own soil, India's foreign minister told journalists on December 22.
"If you ask about military conflict, nobody will say about it in the media," Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at a press conference while answering a question on the probability of a military conflict between Pakistan and India. "We have kept our options open."
Indian Defense Minister Arakkaparambil Antoni said last week that despite tensions in bilateral relations, India "was not planning any military operations" in Pakistan.
India froze talks with Pakistan on the normalization of relations following a bloody terrorist attack in Mumbai last month. A group of about a dozen gunmen armed with submachine guns and grenades swept through India's commercial capital on November 26, attacking hotels, the railway station, a cinema, and a hospital. More than 25 foreigners were among the 188 people killed in the three-day rampage.
Indian authorities have accused the Pakistani-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba of training the terrorists and planning the attacks. India also suspects that the terrorist group arrived by boat from Karachi.
Earlier in December, India gave Pakistan a list of 40 individuals suspected of terrorism. Islamabad refused to hand over the suspects, but promised to conduct an investigation and do everything possible to stop terrorist activities.
The foreign minister said India has asked Pakistan to arrest some of the fugitives who have taken shelter there. "Hand over Indian citizens to us. Those who are required for investigation, may be your citizens, please hand them over to us as well," Mukherjee said.
Mukherjee held on Monday a meeting of Indian envoys to over 120 countries to build diplomatic consensus and apply more pressure on Pakistan to act against the perpetrators of terrorism operating from its soil.
"There has been some effort so far by the international community but this is not enough," he said. "Much more needs to be done and the actions should be pursued to their logical conclusion."
"We need effective steps not only to bring those responsible for the Mumbai attacks to justice, but also to ensure that such acts of terrorism do not recur," the minister said.
The meeting came after New Delhi sent a message to Islamabad on Sunday to "act or face the consequences."
"Ultimately it is we who have to deal with this problem. We will take all measures necessary as we deem fit to deal with the situation," Mukherjee told the diplomats, adding that Pakistani radicals were not just a threat to India.
"This terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan is the greatest terrorist danger to peace and security of the entire civilized world," he said.
Pakistan denies it is harboring terrorists.