NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India asked Pakistan on Tuesday to avoid “war hysteria” and simply act to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure operating in its country.
“The issue is not war, the issue is terror and territory in Pakistan being used to promote, aid and abet this terror,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters. “Nobody wants war.”
India has blamed Pakistani militants for last month’s attacks on Mumbai that killed 179 people and says Pakistan is not fulfilling a promise to crack down on extremists and prevent them using its soil to attack other countries.
As tension between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours simmered, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani warned on Monday that the armed forces were fully capable of defending the country and the people would be united if war was imposed.
But Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Pakistan should focus on the issues. “The issue is not creating war hysteria or raising accusing finger against others”.
“(The) question is there has been a sinister, heinous terrorist attack on Mumbai from the elements in Pakistan. India has requested Pakistan to take action against the perpetrators,” he told reporters.
Mukherjee has previously said “all options” were open to India to pressure Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks, but analysts said a military strike remains very unlikely, as it would strengthen the hand of hawks and extremists in Pakistan.
Instead India is trying to build an international diplomatic consensus to put pressure on Pakistan, and has received support from the United States and the United Nations.
Pakistan strenuously denies any state links to the Mumbai attack.