Berlin, Nov.29 : Pakistani militants have become the focus of the investigation following the terror strikes in Mumbai, according to the Washington Post.
A Pakistani source said Islamabad is "already bending over backwards" to be cooperative, but did not "want to create more opportunities for Pakistan-bashing."
Pakistan's Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, told reporters in Islamabad, "I will say in very categoric terms that Pakistan is not involved in these gory incidents."
However, evidence collected by police in Mumbai, along with intelligence gathered by U.S. and British officials, has led investigators to concentrate their focus on Islamist militants in Pakistan who have long sought to spark a war over Kashmir.
India and Pakistan have already fought two wars over Kashmir since the partition of the Indian subcontinent six decades ago, and the territory remains a flash point.
Indian security forces and separatist fighters skirmish almost daily. Fighting has left as many as 77,000 dead since the early 1990s, according to human rights groups.
A US counter-terrorism official said additional evidence has emerged in the last 24 hours that pointed toward a Kashmiri connection.
"We have to be careful here. When you posit a Kashmiri connection; that puts Pakistan on the table. That is huge, enormous, but what does it mean? It can be anything from people who were [initially] in Pakistan, to maybe people who used to be associated with someone in the Pakistani government, to any gradation you could find," said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Analysts said Pakistan's pledge to assist in the investigation and send its spy chief to India was a sign of the high stakes involved.
"A Pakistani link here would be so utterly damaging, all the way around, to Indo-Pakistani relations," said Shaun Gregory, a professor of international security at the University of Bradford in England and a specialist on Pakistan.
Meanwhile, a team of counter-terrorism officials from Scotland Yard has left for India to assist in the investigation. The FBI has also sent a team of about half a dozen investigators to India, although government sources said it was not clear to what extent the Indians would allow the U.S. agents to participate.