Some official agencies in Pakistan have supported November’s attack on Mumbai (photo, from bbc.co.uk), has said Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh.
He also accused Pakistan of “whipping up war hysteria” in what may be the toughest comments yet by a senior Indian figure, according to correspondents.
After rejecting Mr Singh’s allegations, Pakistan accused India of raising regional tension.
On November 26th, 10 gunmen targeted Mumbai, killing more than 170 people.
Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab, the only surviving gunman from the raid, was remanded in custody on Tuesday for a further two weeks until 19 January.
During a meeting of the chief ministers of Indian states in Delhi, Mr Singh said that because of the “sophistication and military precision of the attack it must have had the support of some official agencies in Pakistan”.
“Today, even as Pakistan engages in whipping up war hysteria, our nation remains steadfastly united and, if anything, the process of national consolidation is becoming stronger.”
Pakistan’s policies on tackling terrorism have again been criticised by the Indian prime minister who said that Pakistan had “given sanctuary to terrorists and other forces who are antagonistic to India”.
“The more fragile a government, the more it tends to act in an irresponsible fashion”, he added.
Mr Singh said India must convince the world that states which use terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy must be isolated. He added that soft support for terrorism can no longer be endorsed.
In the mean time, Shivshankar Menon, India’s foreign secretary, has suggested that leading figures in the Pakistani establishment must have known of the plot. He also hinted that some may have actively supported it.
He said he found it “hard to believe that something of this scale … could occur without anybody, anywhere in the establishment knowing that this was happening”.
Pakistan said that Mr Singh’s comments only served to raise tension in the region. And Indian accusations that Pakistani “state actors” were involved in the attacks are described as “speculation” by Pakistan.
In a statement, the foreign ministry said : “The government of Pakistan emphatically rejects the unfortunate allegations levelled against Pakistan by the prime minister of India.”
“Instead of responding positively to Pakistan’s offer of co-operation and constructive proposals, India has chosen to embark on a propaganda offensive”, it said, adding that such an approach was “fraught with grave risks”.
According to some Pakistani analysts, the open and public accusation by India against official bodies in Pakistan is not likely to increase Islamabad’s inclination to co-operate.
Although New Delhi has previously been careful not to blame the attacks on the Pakistani government, accusing in Monday’s statement “elements in Pakistan” of being behind the plot, Mr Menon later pointed a finger of blame at the country’s “establishment”.
“Even the so-called non-state actors function within a state, are citizens of a state … We don’t think there’s such a thing as non-state actors”, he said.
He also called for Pakistan to extradite suspects linked to the attacks so they could be brought to “Indian justice”.
Pakistan has said any trials will take place in its own courts.
India says that the men who carried out the attack were from the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The BBC’s Chris Morris in Delhi says that group has longstanding links with Pakistan’s top spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Both LeT and Pakistan have denied any involvement in the attacks.
On Monday, Delhi handed to Islamabad evidence on the attacks said to include the interrogation of the surviving gunman, details of phone conversations between the attackers and weapons information.
“India has given us some material, we are examining it. There is no question of rejection or otherwise”, said on Tuesday Shahid Malik, the Pakistani High Commissioner in Delhi.
Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, repeated on Monday a promise that it would punish any of its citizens if “credible” evidence were found of their involvement in the attacks.
On Monday, while he visited Pakistan, US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher urged the two rivals to co-operate more on the investigation.