NEW DELHI – India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached out to Pakistan on Tuesday after months of tension following the Mumbai attacks, saying India would meet its neighbor more than half way if it cracked down on militants.
India had put a pause on slow-moving peace talks with Pakistan after New Delhi blamed a militant strike on the financial hub on the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
I expect the government of Pakistan to ... use every means at their disposal to bring to justice those who had committed these crimes in the past, including the attack on Mumbai, Singh said in an address to parliament.
It came only weeks after Singh's resounding election victory gave the Congress-led government a strong mandate in its second term.
If the leaders of Pakistan have the courage, the determination and the statesmanship to take this road of peace, I wish to assure them that we will meet them more than half way, Singh added.
India had also charged some Pakistani state agencies backed the attack that killed 166 people in November.
Islamabad denied official involvement but has acknowledged the raid was launched and partly planned from Pakistan.
Singh's strong mandate may have led him to strike a more conciliatory tone toward Islamabad than before the April-May general election, when opposition parties had tried to portray his government as soft on militancy and Pakistan.
He is out of (the) stress of an impending election, so he can be more innovative and free than till a month back, said Naresh Chandra, a former ambassador to Washington.
The mood after (Mumbai) was very bad in this country.
India said last week it wanted to normalize relations with its old rival, with whom it has gone to war three times since independence, but reacted angrily to the release of the LeT's founder by Pakistan's Supreme Court.
Indian experts had said the release from house arrest of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed was a setback for resumption of talks.
India gave Pakistan a dossier of information after the Mumbai attacks and followed it up last month with what it said was more evidence Pakistan could use to prosecute the guilty.
(Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Jerry Norton)