These are from the US, the UK, Australia and Israel. None has come from any Asian or African countries, notably, from Russia or China who have incidentally refrained from any doomsday comments.
Disregarding for a moment any hand of the countries just mentioned behind the blast one may safely assume from their alacrity that there is something more in their presence than meets the eye. Perhaps this is regarded as a golden opportunity to bamboozle India into quick commitment to aims and plans of Israel and the US for the Middle East, in particular, and for this part of our region, in general.
None of these countries showed any willingness to come to Pakistan to help investigate the blast at Marriott Islamabad. The damage and loss of life at Marriott were no loss than that of the Taj.
India is already very anxious to take on some kind of role in Afghanistan, in particular, and in the Gulf area, in general. India has already obtained facilities for docking and repair of its naval vessels on the Oman coast. The Indian navy very recently ‘arrested’ a ship on suspicion of its connection with the pirates which turned out to be utterly ridiculous!
There are other two sectors, among several others, which may benefit from the Mumbai blast. The Indian army is not very happy with the arrest of some of its personnel for involvement in terrorist acts. They would like to see the Indian government allow the army more say in defence matters, especially with regard to Kashmir and Pakistan.
The overreaction of the Indian government against Pakistan has only made it more dependent upon the army which may have come under increasing influence of the US following the ‘strategic consensus’.
In addition, the main opposition party, the BJP, has attracted a large number of retired army officers who are now very active on its behalf. The hue and cry by the Indian government will only strengthen the communal mindset of this section of the Indians.
The other sector which may not be unsympathetic towards the Mumbai blast are the Tamils. The Tamils are faring very badly in Sri Lanka; they may direct their fury and frustration towards someone which happens to be the Indian government which soon after partition held the dream of lording it over Sri Lanka, Nepal and other neighbours. The Tamil anger not very long ago took the shape of the murderous attack on Rajiv Gandhi.
The sanest policy is for India to line up with Pakistan against the spreading terrorism in this area instead of trying to be clever. It already has considerable problems in Bihar and northeast India which would be compounded by any internal strife as a result of coercion of untouchables and Muslim and Christian minorities. To this may be added the resistance by the leftist elements in India who will not easily agree to India becoming a western surrogate in this area.
The moral of Mumbai episode and similar others in the past is that regional instability if not corrected can engulf all and sundry. If India had cooperated instead of playing games with Pakistan, the metastasis of terror cancer starting in Afghanistan might not engulf India also. Conflagration in the neighbouring house affects without fail all the neighbours.
DAWN - Letters; December 08, 2008
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