WASHINGTON: India's foreign minister said on Wednesday the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks is still using Pakistan for a ''hate India campaign.''
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told The Associated Press that the peace process between the South Asian rival nations would continue but that Pakistan has to help ''checkmate'' terrorist groups for relations to be normalised.
Krishna will visit Pakistan next month. He said India only has to look on Pakistani television to see that militant leader Hafiz Mohammad Saeed remains free. ''Assurances have been given to India by the leadership of Pakistan that Pakistan territory is not going to be used for anti-India activities,'' Krishna said after attending high-level US-India talks in Washington.
''But we know for a fact and have evidence and we can see it on Pakistani TV that the brains behind the Mumbai attack, led by Hafiz Saeed, goes scot-free in Pakistan, still carrying on a hate India campaign.''
''This does not connect very well with a nation's intention if it was to extend the hand of friendship to normalise relations,'' Krishna said.
The Lashkar-i-Taiba group Saeed founded is blamed for the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, the worst terror attack suffered by India.
New Delhi has long accused Pakistan of supporting militants to wage attacks inside India, with which it has fought three wars.
Pakistan has resisted Indian demands to do more against Saeed, saying there isn't sufficient evidence. He was kept under house arrest for several months after the attacks but authorities released him after he challenged his detention in court.
In April, the US put a $10 million bounty on Saeed. Days later, he held a provocative news conference, close to Pakistan's military headquarters, saying the United States should give the reward to him, as it could contact him directly.
Despite that irritant in relations, Pakistan and neighboring India are taking steps to open up trade that has been restricted by their six decades of enmity.
Both sides hope that can help ease tensions, but the peace process is moving slowly, although Krishna maintained he was cautiously optimistic about the future.
In April, Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, traveled to India for his first face-to-face meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in three years.
Singh accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan, but Krishna said a date has yet to be set.