NEW DELHI – Nearly a month after the Mumbai terror attacks, India has not provided the evidence needed for Interpol to help identify and apprehend the suspected masterminds, the chief of the global police agency said Tuesday.
Ronald Noble, speaking in Islamabad after a visit to New Delhi, said Pakistan has agreed to work with the agency to help investigate the attacks that killed 164 people in India's financial hub last month.
But he said India has provided no names or information that would allow police in other countries to check their databases, calling it "not acceptable" for New Delhi to provide those details to the media first.
India's reluctance to turn over evidence — while demanding that Pakistan crack down on the militant group suspected of hatching the plot — has been a major irritant to Islamabad.
On Monday, Pakistan sent fighter jets screaming through the skies near major cities in a display of military force that raised concerns the two nuclear powers may go to war for a fourth time.
Seeking to temper tensions, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a second visit to Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks and urged the country's leadership to work with India to fight terrorism.
He "encouraged the Pakistani leaders to use this tragic event as an opportunity to forge more productive ties with India and to seek ways in which both nations can combat the common threat of extremism together," the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad said in a statement.
Meanwhile, police in Kashmir — a region India and Pakistan have gone to war over twice — announced the arrest of three men accused of plotting a suicide bomb attack in Indian Kashmir. One, Ghulam Farid, is a Pakistani soldier, said Kuldeep Khoda, director-general of police in Indian Kashmir.
In Pakistan, a military official said Farid was not an active soldier. He said Farid deserted in June 2006. The official asked not to be named, citing the sensitivity of the matter.
Confirmation that Farid is an active Pakistani soldier would be a blow for Pakistan, which denies funding and training Kashmiri militant groups and says it only provides them with moral support.
India's prime minister also sought to calm tensions, saying New Delhi does not want to go to war.
"The issue is not war; nobody wants war," Manmohan Singh told reporters. "The issue is terror — and territory in Pakistan being used to promote and abet terrorism."
But speaking to Indian envoys, he called the Mumbai siege "an attack on India's ambitions to emerge as an economic power" and accused "non-state actors" of waging terrorism with the state's help.
"India would not accept a situation where terrorism is used as an instrument to cripple India's economy or the values it stands for," he said.
Relations between the longtime foes, which have gone to war three times since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, have been strained since the deadly assault by 10 alleged militants from the banned group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Pakistan has arrested several senior Lashkar members and has also moved against Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity that India and others say is a front for the group.
India, however, has criticized the moves as insufficient and has demanded stronger action. Islamabad says it needs proof of Pakistani involvement in the attacks first.
India has one suspect in custody: the lone surviving gunman from the Nov. 26 attack. On Monday, India gave Pakistan a letter it says was written by accused attacker Mohammed Ajmal Kasab.
In it, Kasab wrote that he and the nine other gunmen came from Pakistan. He also requested a meeting with Pakistani envoys, India's Foreign Ministry said.
But Pakistan has no record of the man in its National Database and Registration Authority, according to the head of Pakistan's Interior Ministry, Rehman Malik.
Malik, speaking at an Islamabad news conference with Noble, said experts were examining the letter. But he said Pakistan needs more evidence before it can investigate potential links in the country.
Noble said an Interpol team was deployed to India to gather evidence and information to be shared with police databases worldwide. But so far the only information the France-based police agency has is from the media, he said.
"No information has been shared. We are hopeful that it will happen very quickly," Noble said.