India: No Troop Movements; Zardari offers to Try Perps in Pakistan; Lashkar had fought in Iraq

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that India is not contemplating a military attack on Pakistan, but has sent Pakistan a list of 20 alleged terrorists wanted by India and now resident in Pakistan. They include former Mumbai underworld figure Dawood Ibrahim and the leader of the Jaish-e Muhammad [Army of Muhammad], Mawlana Masoud Azhar.

As Secretary of State Condi Rice arrived in India for consultations, the police chief of Mumbai, Hasan Ghafoor accused Pakistani ex-military officers of having trained the attackers for over a year. One report I heard on ABC news alleged that the Pakistani navy trained the attackers. The former report, of the involvement of ex-military, is far more likely to be true. It would have been fooling for the formal Pakistan military to launch and attack such as this, since it would have been far too easily traced right back to them.

A US military official confirmed that there have been no troop movements and no activity related to the two countries’ nuclear arsenals.

Pakistani Prime Minister Raza Yousuf Gilani is requesting that the Indian government share its proof that the attackers were from Pakistan, pledging his government’s full cooperation in that case.

Pakistani president Asaf Ali Zardari pledged on CNN’s Larry King Live that if India presents good evidence against the 20 individuals it is seeking to extradite, then Pakistan would itself try and punish them.

Veteran terrorism correspondent Richard Sale reveals that some of the Lashkar-e Tayiba, a largely Punjabi group, had been fighting the US in Iraq in recent years. If any these attackers were Iraq War ‘veterans,’ that would help account for their sophistication and guerrilla training.

Pakistan is offering to set up a joint inquiry with India into the attacks.

One of the accused, Amir Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, leader of the Jama`at al-Da’wa (Missionary Group), said that it would be “unfortunate” if India bombed his compound at Muridke outside Lahore. The Jama`at is another name for the Lashkar-e Tayiba or ‘Army of the Good’ that is accused of being behind the Mumbai attacks. Indian intelligence officers have leaked to the Indian press that the attackers used a satellite phone to call a Lashkar number in Lahore.

In any case, India’s leadership is showing remarkable cool and proceeding deliberately, which is a good sign. If any group of ten fanatics can go about provoking a war, we are going to have a lot of wars.