The Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad deserves congratulations for untangling the July 11 conspiracy so quickly. What emerges from Police Commissioner AN Roy’s Saturday press conference is that the authorities have been able to piece together the Indian end of the conspiracy in great detail — the persons involved, how they financed the conspiracy, how the bombs were fabricated, where they were kept, how they were placed in the train and so on. That 11 Pakistani terrorists could enter India, assist in the bomb-making process and carry out their mission is a matter of grave concern, as is the fact that some Indian Muslims were enticed to join them in a conspiracy to spread terror in their own country. There is no reason for us to disbelieve the account that several of those involved had gone to Pakistan for training in camps that the Pakistani media themselves have reported are functioning across the country.
The ATS accounts make it clear that there is a Pakistani hand in the Mumbai blasts — that of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba chief of operations Azam Cheema and some Jaish-e-Mohammed cadre in Bahawalpur. Mr Roy used interesting language implying that the Mumbai blasts were “produced” by the ISI and “directed” by the LeT, though by his own account most of the actors and extras were Indian nationals, assisted by Pakistani terrorist foot soldiers. Bet, the ATS is yet to effectively link the conspiracy to the Pakistan government and its agencies —notably the Pakistan army’s notorious ISI. Undoubtedly, some of this evidence will be placed before the new India-Pakistan joint consultative mechanism on terrorism, and it would be interesting to see how Islamabad reacts.
The revelations indicate that while terrorist attacks are planned in Pakistan, the funds are channeled through the Saudi peninsula and Nepal and Bangladesh are used as secure bases to launch the operations. While India must do what it must to terminate these threats, the international community and these countries would be unwise to ignore these developments. India needs all the help to fight terrorism, but most of all it needs the cooperation and goodwill of its own people. The best help they can give is not to be taken in by agent provocateurs or those who seek to use our hour of danger for narrow political gain.