External Affairs Ministerís Statement in Parliament on Mumbai terrorist attack
Suo Motu Statement by External Affairs Minister Honíble Pranab Mukherjee
13th February, 2009
I rise to inform the House of developments since this House last considered the aftermath of the dastardly terrorist attack on Mumbai. On December 12, 2008 this House resolved, in a solemn Resolution that: "India shall not cease in her efforts until the terrorists and those who have trained, funded and abetted them are exposed and brought to justice".
2. Through the months of December, January and February, we have continued to use all means available and heightened our diplomatic activity to achieve the goals set for us, namely, to bring the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai to book, and to seek credible steps by Pakistan to ensure that there would no recurrence of such attacks.
3. The Mumbai attacks were a crime committed on India, the conspiracy for which was hatched, planned and organized in Pakistan. In our diplomatic effort, we made it clear to Pakistan and the international community:
ē Firstly, that the terrorist attack on Mumbai again underlines the grave threat that terrorism poses to peace and stability and therefore has to be seen in the context of the global challenge of terrorism. Terrorism emanating from Pakistan is of course a direct threat to India, but it is equally a regional and a global threat.
ē Secondly, from our investigations the evidence was conclusive that the attack was planned, executed and launched from Pakistan territory, by Pakistanis and by elements based in Pakistan. The primary onus of responsibility lies on Pakistan to fully unveil the conspiracy, identify those guilty and act in a transparent and verifiable manner.
Thirdly, Mumbai was by no means the first or only terrorist attack on India linked to the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan. Nonetheless, with Mumbai a threshold was crossed and it was imperative that Pakistan act credibly against that infrastructure to prevent further attacks.
4. By early January our investigations had progressed to the point where the details could be shared with the international community and specific information, material and leads could be provided to the Government of Pakistan. On the 5th of January we conveyed to the Government of Pakistan material linking the Mumbai attack of 26-29 November, 2008 to elements in Pakistan. This included:
ē Material from the interrogation of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani national who is in police custody.
ē Details of the terroristsí communication links with elements in Pakistan during the Mumbai attack.
ē Details of recovered weapons, equipment and other articles.
ē Data retrieved from recovered GPS and satellite phones used by the terrorists.
5. A full dossier of the Mumbai attack was also prepared and forwarded to all my counterpart Foreign Ministers. At the same time detailed briefings for all resident Heads of Missions in New Delhi were organised in the Ministry of External Affairs.
6. In our diplomatic exchanges, we conveyed our expectation that the Government of Pakistan promptly undertake further investigations in Pakistan and share the results with us so as to bring the perpetrators to justice, and that Pakistan would implement her bilateral, multilateral and international obligations to prevent terrorism in any manner from territory under her control.
7. It may be useful to recapitulate that this was the fourth formal and official communication that we had addressed to the Government of Pakistan on this issue. I had spoken on the telephone to the Foreign Minister of Pakistan on 28 November, 2008, when he was still in India. That conversation was followed up and formalized in writing on the 29th (the next day) morning in the form of a speaking note. Secondly, on 1st December 2008 a formal demarche was made to the Government of Pakistan. Thirdly, on the 22nd December 2008, a letter from the Pakistani terrorist in our custody was officially forwarded to the Pakistan Government. And fourthly, on 5th January 2009 the dossier, with details I mentioned earlier, was given to the Government of Pakistan.
8. Pakistanís Response: Hon. Members are aware of the prevarication, denial, diversionary tactics and misplaced sense of victimhood which characterized Pakistanís reaction from early days after the Mumbai attack. Pakistanís political leadership did condemn the terrorist attack and promised us full cooperation in investigating the conspiracy in Pakistan. I do not discount in any way either their intent or their sincerity, but the fact remains that the overwhelming response of official Pakistan to the Mumbai attack was not appropriate to a terrorist attack where innocents were massacred in cold blood. Throughout the attempt was to divert attention from the terrorist attack and Pakistanís responsibilities to other issues.
9. On 16 January, the Government of Pakistan informed us that some action had been taken against the Jamat-ud-Dawa in pursuance to its being listed by the UN as a terrorist organisation. Some of its members were placed on the Exit Control List, some arms licenses were cancelled, instructions issued to freeze the accounts of JuD, some activists of JuD were arrested and certain JuD publications were banned. We were also informed that with effect from 15th January, 2009, the Government of Pakistan had launched a formal enquiry into the Mumbai terrorist attack and that the Federal Investigation Agency had been given the responsibility of conducting the enquiry in accordance with the laws of Pakistan. Some details of the enquiry team were intimated to us.
10. In the afternoon of February 12, our High Commissioner in Pakistan was informed by the Pakistan Foreign Secretary of Pakistanís response to the dossier of material that we had made available to Pakistan on January 5 linking the terrorist attacks on Mumbai to perpetrators in Pakistan. This is a positive development. In their official response, the Pakistan authorities have admitted that elements in Pakistan were involved in the terrorist attacks on Mumbai. They are still in the process of investigating the attacks, and have taken certain actions including the arrest of some of those who were involved, and have filed a first information report in Pakistan.
11. Pakistan has also sought further information and material relating to the investigation. The Government of India will now examine the issues raised in Pakistanís response. After our examination, we will share whatever we can with Pakistan.
12. Honíble Members will appreciate that Government has constantly been guided by the two objective of ensuring that the perpetrators who planned, organised and trained the terrorists in Pakistan are brought to justice, and that the infrastructure of terrorism which exists in Pakistan is dismantled so that we prevent a recurrence of such attacks. The international community has also worked with us, using its influence on Pakistan to ensure that the terrorist infrastructure and the support provided to such elements is put to an end, since terrorism emanating out of Pakistan is a threat not only to us, but to the world. We will continue to review the situation including Pakistanís responses and will take further steps that we deem necessary in order to protect our people.
13. The threat of terrorism from Pakistan has emerged as a global menace and cancer. The major onus of responsibility to eliminate this threat rests on the Government of Pakistan. It is imperative that it act with sincerity and act effectively against the licence that terrorist groups enjoy in its territory. It is essential that the assurances given to us repeatedly at the highest level by Pakistan leaders are implemented as solemn commitments.
14. Since the 1st of December, 2008, the Composite Dialogue process with Pakistan has been at a pause. No meeting has taken place and neither are any scheduled. It is also the case that the substantial gains in the process of normalization which were achieved in the last four or five years are at grave risk. As Members are aware, the dialogue and normalization process was premised on commitments given by Pakistan that territory under its control would not be used for terrorism in any manner.
15. We are at a point in our relationship where the authorities in Pakistan itself have to choose the kind of relationship that they want with India in the future. Much depends on actions in the Mumbai case reaching their logical conclusion. I must underline that we have no quarrel with the people of Pakistan. We wish them well and we do not think that they should be held responsible or face the consequences of this situation. We have, therefore, consciously, and after due deliberation, not thought it necessary or fit to curtail people to people contacts, trains and road links.
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi