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India debates response to attack

India's Vajpayee faces pressure to act unilaterally against terrorists  

NEW DELHI, India -- New Delhi has said last week's suicide attack on parliament was intended to wipe out India's leadership, and has reinforced its accusation that Pakistan is to blame.

India has said it is determined to stamp out terrorism in the wake of last week's bloody raid on parliament, and again has blamed Pakistan for supporting militants.

Home (Interior) Minister L.K. Advani told parliament Tuesday that India is determined to stamp out terrorism in the wake of the bloody raid, which killed 13 people, including the five assailants.

While India has not yet outlined a response to the attack it is weighing military and diplomatic measures against Pakistan.

Maria Ressa reports on India's response to the attack
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India has already said that Thursday's operation was planned by Pakistan's intelligence agency, and both countries are now on high alert.

Many Indian lawmakers are demanding the military cross the frontier in the disputed northern state of Kashmir to carry out attacks similar to the Israeli strikes in Palestinian areas.

They say the parliament attack was the last straw for the nation that has lost 54,000 people to separatist and terrorist violence in five decades.

'Very dangerous'

The United States has urged the rival neighbors to exercise restraint, with Secretary of State Colin Powell saying the situation "has the potential of becoming very dangerous."

Washington has asked India to complete its investigation of the attack before it decides on its course of action.

New Delhi has already blamed Pakistan for supporting two Pakistan-based Kashmiri separatist groups it says were behind the attack.

India has called on Islamabad to close down the separatist groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, which it says are linked to Pakistan's main intelligence agency.

Pakistan's government has denied India's allegations of involvement, but said it would consider action against anyone based in Pakistan if India gave proof.

Pakistan's information secretary, Anwar Mahmood, said his country would act on any "credible proof" that the Jaish-e-Mohammed cooperated in the assault.

"The blame game must end," the government spokesman was quoted as saying by Pakistan's official news agency.

"Pakistan expects India to look into the matter in a dispassionate manner."

The State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, Francis Taylor, will visit India, probably in early January, for detailed talks on cooperation.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence in 1947.


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