Already in a cold snap, London froze with fright although the bloody carnage in Mumbai was taking place 5,500 km away. There was concern for the trapped British citizens, the possible involvement of a British Pakistani, but there was fear that a similar attack was possible here too.
The Indian High Commission issued over 60 journalists visas late on Wednesday night. Intelligence expert Crispin Black described the Mumbai attack as “symphonic or rather operatic”, the first of its kind.
People recalled that the Taj Mahal Hotel was built in defiance of the ‘No entry for Indians’ signs in hotels in the Raj days. Columnist Charles Moore summed up, “The events in India are linked to our past and are bound to have a knock-out effect on our relations with Muslims closer to home.”
This should worry UK because over 4,000 British Muslims have passed through terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Terrorism expert Kevin Toolis said, “Picking out Westerners as hostages or targets suggests the terrorists were inspired by Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda.”
It also meant that Afghanistan, more than Kashmir could have been the root cause.
The intelligence experts are convinced of Pakistani links. Matthew Hunt, Intelligence Analyst, Janusian Security Risk Management, revealed “LeT was developing maritime capacity.”
Dr Peter Lehr, senior research associate at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, at University of St. Andrews agreed, “This (LeT link) is re-enforced by the commando-like attack by terrorists who were well-trained and were willing to die.
“The logistical support, arranging of shipping and local manpower (from the underworld) was possibly done by Dawood Ibrahim,” he added.
Another expert Patrick Cockburn said the way in which the Pakistani military has allowed Kashmiri and Pakistani militants free range in Pakistan created the milieu from which the attacks this week came and that the sheer scale and co-ordination of the attacks mean the gunmen received paramilitary training somewhere.
Toolis was more blunt, “ Terrorist groups don’t magically appear out of nowhere. Someone, or some government, has to train, arm and sponsor them.” The insinuation is clear.
An editorial in The Telegraph warned President Zardari, “Pakistan as a nation must realise that its future rests on eradicating the Islamist terrorist…on purging extremist elements from the ISI.”
Britain and India have opened a joint front. David Cameron said, ‘The attack on India was an attack on the UK too.” To which The Telegraph added “India’s fight is our fight.”