India says still seeking extraditions from Pakistan

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The Independent Online

India wants the Mumbai attack planners to be extradited to India, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said today, despite reports that New Delhi had no problems with their being tried in Pakistan.

"We have never given up the demand that the perpetrators of the terror act should be handed over to India," Mukherjee said.

"There is no question of that (giving up the extradition demand) or climb down."

The minister was reported to have said this week in an interview with the India Today media group that those accused in the Mumbai attacks could be tried and punished in Pakistan, a comment Indian newspapers interpreted as a climbdown in New Delhi's demand for extradition of militants.

Mukherjee's India Today interview came after Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the Pakistani state was not linked to the Mumbai attacks and he showed no support for India's demand for extradition of the accused.

"There is no question of that we have given up this demand," Mukherjee said in a televised statement Friday. Tensions have flared between the nuclear-armed neighbours since the attacks, which India blamed on Pakistani militants backed by some official agencies there.

India went into diplomatic overdrive to gain support for its case after the November attacks that killed 179 people, but some of its Western allies such as the United States and Britain expressed doubts New Delhi had enough evidence to implicate the Pakistani state.

Besides demanding extradition of the accused, India also wants Pakistan to destroy what it says are militant camps.

India has handed Pakistan data from satellite phones used by the attackers and what it describes as the confession of a surviving gunman, part of a dossier of evidence.

Pakistan has said the dossier did not amount to evidence and that the "information" needed to be carefully examined.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947.