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India accuses Pakistan spy agency of attacks

NEW DELHI, Feb 6 – India has for the first time directly accused Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence agency — the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) — of involvement in last year’s Mumbai attacks.

"The perpetrators planned, trained and launched their attacks from Pakistan, and the organisers were and remain clients and creations of the ISI," Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said in a speech in Paris on Thursday that was picked up by the Indian media.

In January, India handed Pakistan what it said was evidence linking "elements" in Pakistan to the November attacks on India’s financial capital, in which 10 gunmen killed 165 people during a 60-hour siege.

New Delhi has blamed the attacks on the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is active in Indian-ruled Kashmir, but the Pakistan-based organisation has denied responsibility.

Earlier this week Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani assured India that his government would hand over the results of its own investigation into the attacks soon.

Pakistan has confirmed that the lone surviving Mumbai gunman, now in Indian custody, is one of its citizens. But it has insisted that the attackers were "non-state actors."

India had previously blamed the ISI for a suicide attack on its embassy in Kabul last July, in which 60 people including India’s military attaché and a diplomat were killed.

Menon said India had long suffered from "terrorist organisations, their support structures, official sponsors and funding mechanisms, which transcend national borders but operate within them."

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He also blasted foreign arms sales to Pakistan in the name of fighting terrorism, saying it was like selling "whisky to an alcoholic."

Such transactions damage the "internal political balance, making the consolidation of democracy more difficult," he added.

The United States has been one of Pakistan’s key military backers, providing F-16 fighter jets in return for political support for its operations in Afghanistan.

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