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Pray for the best, as things are likely to get worse in region

As evidence mounts on the recent 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, it is becoming increasingly clear that this was an operation involving at least the following:

india Updated: Dec 03, 2008 00:05 IST
Samrat

As evidence mounts on the recent 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, it is becoming increasingly clear that this was an operation involving at least the following:

* Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, a terrorist outfit based in Pakistan
* Al Qaeda
* ISI, Pakistan’s external intelligence agency
* Elements from the Pakistan military
* Dawood Ibrahim

It is hardly surprising that they should wish to do us harm. They have publicly and repeatedly said as much.
Sample this:

“We have no relationship with India except that of enmity. We are close to attaining freedom in Kashmir through jihad. But due to US intervention, our government changed its policy.”

This was General Hamid Gul, former ISI Director-General, speaking at the Kashmir Solidarity Conference organised by the Jamaat-ud-Daawa in Pakistan in February 2005. Jamaat-ud-Daawa is the political front of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba.

The are many such examples. The linkages of the five outfits mentioned earlier are clear, and widely known around the world.

Even the pattern of spiking a peace overture with a bloody attack is old hat — remember A.B. Vajpayee’s friendly visit to Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan by bus, and the Kargil war that followed? Or Pervez Musharraf’s Agra visit and the subsequent attack on Parliament?

This time the immediate precursor to the attack was President Asif Ali Zardari’s speech at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, where he spoke of a policy of no-first use of nuclear weapons and a solution to the Kashmir issue that would give primacy to the Kashmiri people — and not Pakistan, or India. This came in the backdrop of remarkably successful and peaceful elections in Jammu & Kashmir.

Zardari’s speech was called surrender without battle’ by hardliners in Pakistan, particularly its military. It was followed
four days later by the attack on Mumbai.

The Indian response in each case has been completely predictable: it has consisted of loud noises and chest-thumping. The American response has been equally predictable: it has consisted of holding India’s hand and saying, “there, there, Pakistan is bad, but you be good! Don’t fight now, you know they have big bombs!” This is happening this time as well.

So it’s fairly simple for any enemy strategist to freely plan any number of terror strikes against India (and unleash them
at short notice) because they can be certain that India will not be able to do anything to them. It can only sack its own inept ministers, and provide the planners a few laughs.

Sadly, the situation is unlikely to change for the better.

The Taliban and Al Qaeda are looking to recapture Kabul once again and the Americans do not want us to mobilise our armed forces for fear that Afghanistan will be lost. The power of Zardari’s government to deliver terrorists to India is limited.

Strong action on India’s part will lead to the fall of Zardari’s government and possible military rule. However, inaction is not a politically viable option in India any more. The situation will therefore inevitably deteriorate.

When that happens, federal agencies armed with stronger laws will prove as inadequate as policemen with .303 rifles.

Targeted assassinations of the country’s enemies are thus called for, at the very least.

As the Americans probably know, in the longer term, only the dismantling of the ISI and the Pakistan military will solve the problem. The creation of one or more new countries between Afghanistan and Pakistan therefore offers hope of a permanent solution.