NEW DELHI (AP) - India called on Pakistan Thursday to prosecute the architects of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, saying it would build confidence in the countries' peace efforts. Pakistan said it would fight terrorism but repeated its rejection of Indian claims that its intelligence agents played a role in the bloodshed.
The foreign secretaries of the two countries told reporters after a daylong meeting Wednesday that the nuclear-armed neighbors are committed to working toward resolving their six-decade-old conflict.
The talks came two weeks after India arrested a suspect in the Mumbai attacks, which left 166 people dead. Indian investigators say Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari told them that Pakistani intelligence agents were in a Karachi control room helping coordinate the 60-hour siege of India's financial capital.
Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said Ansari's arrest added urgency to India's demand that Islamabad push ahead with prosecutions against planners of the attack.
"I emphasized that terrorism is the biggest threat to peace and security in the region and that bringing the guilty to justice in the Mumbai terror attacks would be the biggest confidence building measure of all," Mathai said.
Pakistani Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani said his country is "willing to enter comprehensive cooperation in order to defeat the forces of terrorism," but he rejected the charge that Pakistani intelligence agents were involved in the assault.
Jilani said he "very strongly rejected any insinuation of the involvement of any state agency of Pakistan in terror attack in India".
India has long said Pakistani officials helped coordinate the attacks and that Islamabad is dragging its feet in prosecuting the planners. The attacks on luxury hotels, the city's main train station and other targets were carried out by 10 Pakistan-based militants. Nine of the attackers were killed and one was arrested.
Ansari, who also uses the alias Abu Jundal, has corroborated evidence given by American terrorist David Coleman Headley during his trial in Chicago last year that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency and the Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba worked closely and had cooperated in planning the Mumbai attack.
Pakistan has repeatedly maintained that the ISI has no links to Lashkar.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain. Two were over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is divided between the two countries and which both countries claim entirely.
Peace efforts were paralyzed in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, but ties have improved gradually, with peace talks resuming in February 2011. The two sides have worked to thaw relations by pushing bilateral trade and increasing people-to-people contacts even as the thorny issues of tackling terror and resolving the Kashmir conflict remain unresolved.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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