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Bin Laden killing deepens Indian distrust of Pakistan

India has long said that arch-rival Pakistan has been unwilling to quash terrorism. For many, Osama bin Laden's killing bolsters that view.

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India believes the terrorists acted in collusion with some elements of the ISI, though Islamabad denies involvement.

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The Mumbai attacks "meant that suspicion of Pakistan was sunk really deep into the Indian psyche; it's not limited to the political establishment," says Mahesh Rangarajan, a political analyst in New Delhi.

Since then, New Delhi has repeatedly demanded that Islamabad hand over those accused in recent investigations and called for Pakistan to stop providing a safe haven for terrorists – although it has dropped that as a precondition for further peace talks.

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Analysts say that bin Laden's killing is unlikely to make substantive difference to the fate of the peace process, which Prime Minister Singh hopes to make the cornerstone of his prime ministership.

In recent months, the nuclear-armed rivals have taken small steps toward getting that process back on track. In April, Singh chatted to his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani during a cricket match played between their countries’ teams in the north Indian town of Mohali and there has been talk of talks later this summer.

In a brief statement released after bin Laden’s death was announced, Singh betrayed none of the schadenfreude evident elsewhere in India. "This is a decisive blow to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups," he said. “The international community and Pakistan, in particular, must work comprehensively to end the activities of all such groups who threaten civilized behavior and kill innocent men, women, and children."

Indian officials are likely to use this week’s big news to push the United States to step up pressure on Pakistan to fight terrorism.

They will be prompted especially by concerns that President Obama could use bin Laden’s death to hasten the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, which could, in turn, give greater rein to extremist groups in the region.


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