By Wang Haiqing
BEIJING, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The deadly attacks on India's financial capital Mumbai are beginning to cast a fresh shadow over relations between India and Pakistan, who have witnessed a thaw recently in their oft-strained ties.
As Indian police declared on Saturday morning that all militants involved in Mumbai attacks were either captured or shot dead, the implications of the attacks continue to unfold.
No matter which group will be found guilty of the terrorist attacks, which resulted in 195 deaths and 295 people injured in India's financial center, they have already triggered a fresh war of words between the two arch rivals in South Asia, who have fought three wars since their independence in 1947.
EXPLICIT ACCUSATIONS FROM INDIA
On Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a televised speech that "neighbors" who harbored those militants will not be tolerated.
His words were widely interpreted as a warning to Pakistan, as India has been hinting at the involvement of its northern neighbor for providing a safe haven for terrorists who mounted attacks in India in the past several years.
However, the accusations turned somewhat explicit this time when Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said: "Elements in Pakistan are responsible" for the coordinated attacks on several sites in India's most-densely populated city.
According to reports by the Press Trust of India (PTI), Mukherjee also said proof of Pakistan's involvement "cannot be disclosed at this time."
The finger-pointing is likely to set back efforts to further improve India-Pakistan ties and consequently, previous peace efforts between the two countries might be largely in vain, analysts say.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari called Singh on Friday to condemn the attacks and pledged his government would cooperate with India "in exposing and apprehending the culprits and the masterminds behind the attacks," the official Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was in India's capital New Delhi on a visit when the attacks struck, said it was premature to link Mumbai attacks with Pakistan.
"Past experience shows that such happenings do not require immediate reaction," he said.
After the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing killing 68 near the Indian city of Panipat, the Indian media and government blamed Pakistan, but the investigation revealed that the Indians were themselves involved in it, Qureshi said.
Qureshi pledged Pakistan's cooperation at every level, adding that allegations against Pakistan should be stopped.
While putting up a verbal defence of its reputation, Pakistan also announced its decision on Friday to send its intelligence chief to India to help probe the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
However, Pakistan Saturday changed its mind about sending the intelligence chief. A spokesman of the Prime Minister's House said that a representative of the Inter-Services Intelligence(ISI) will visit India instead of its chief.
WHO IS BEHIND THE ATTACKS
Following the brazen attacks which hit two of Mumbai's luxury hotels, train stations, a Jewish center and a hospital, many Indians immediately laid the blame on a Pakistani militant group which had fought Indian forces in the disputed Kashmir region.
But it was Deccan Mujahideen which claimed responsibility for the attacks, and that group was little known to global security officials.
While some analysts argue the "Deccan Mujahideen" is probably only a smoke screen created by the masterminds behind the attacks to deter investigation efforts, others say the name suggests a link with the Indian Mujahideen, the proven culprit who launched several coordinated bombing attacks in India in 2007, Indian media said.