NEW DELHI: Triple blasts in Mumbai last week have cast a shadow over the imminent visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to New Delhi and a new round of India-Pakistan peace talks later this month.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombs on Wednesday evening that killed 19 and injured more than 100, and the initial police investigation has failed to unearth any clear leads.
Briefing reporters on Thursday about the investigation, Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram cast the net of suspicion as wide as it would go in a deliberate effort to avoid pointing the finger at Pakistan.
"All groups hostile to India are on the radar," he said.
"It is too early to know because the investigations can go in any direction" Brahma Chellaney of the New Delhi-based Centre of Policy Research think-tank, told AFP.
"(But) if the investigations throw up cross-border links then that will queer the pitch for the talks."
"Counter-terrorism has always been part of our strategic dialogue," an Indian foreign ministry official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "The July 13 attacks will be part of the exchange."
Clinton said last week that it was "more important than ever that we stand with India" and she reaffirmed her "commitment to the shared struggle against terrorism."
Robert Hathaway, director of the Asia programme at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC, said the latest attacks in Mumbai "will inevitably colour Secretary Clinton's visit."
He said the latest bloodshed in India's commercial capital had the potential to upset the delicate balance in the three US relationships in the region with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
India broke off its peace process with Pakistan after the November 2008 attacks on Mumbai, which were blamed on the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-a-Taiba.
Initial suspicions for this week's explosions have fallen on the Indian Mujahideen, an Indian group with links to Lashkar-e-Taiba, but their past operations have come with a claim of responsibility.
Krishna would face tremendous public pressure to call off his planned meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar scheduled for the last week of July in New Delhi if any new Pakistan links are unearthed.
The government's policy of engaging the Pakistani government, pushed by Prime Minister Singh, has faced fierce criticism from the main opposition, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.