Opinion

The Great Debate

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Assessing U.S. intervention in India-Pakistan: enough for now?

In the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, India's response has been to look to the United States to lean on Pakistan, which it blames for spawning Islamist militancy across the region, rather than launching any military retaliation of its own. So after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's trip to India and Pakistan last week, have the Americans done enough for now?

According to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, Rice told Pakistan there was "irrefutable evidence" that elements within the country were involved in the Mumbai attacks. And it quotes unnamed sources as saying that behind-the-scenes she “pushed the Pakistani leaders to take care of the perpetrators, otherwise the U.S. will act”.

India's Business Standard said the Indian government was pleased with the U.S. warning. "This is exactly what India wanted," the newspaper said.

The Times of India, however, fretted the U.S. action against Pakistan appeared to be "turning tepid", in public at least. It attributed the U.S. approach to the perceived need to avoid backing the civilian government led by President Asif Ali Zardari into a corner. (India has specifically not accused the Pakistan government of involvement in the Mumbai attacks, pointing instead to militant groups supported by Pakistan's powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI.) It also said the United States was wary of destabilising a partner on which it depends crucially as a transit route for supplies to Afghanistan, while also being hobbled by the change of administration in Washington.

So which way is the pendulum swinging -- towards firm U.S. action that will allow Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to say he was right to put his faith in American diplomacy, or a lukewarm response that will either force India to act alone or leave its Congress-led government looking on in helpless frustration as it heads into a general election due by next May?

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Can India-Pakistan ties withstand Mumbai bombings?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has blamed a group with "external linkages" for coordinated attacks which killed more than 100 people in Mumbai. The language was reminiscent of the darker days of India-Pakistan relations when India always saw a Pakistan hand in militant attacks, blaming groups it said were set up by Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, to seek revenge for Pakistan's defeat by India in the 1971 war.

An attack on India's parliament in December 2001 triggered a mass mobilisation along the two countries' borders and brought them close to a fourth war.  That attack was blamed by India on the Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed - hardline Islamist groups with links to al Qaeda.  Both have been associated with the kind of "fedayeen" attacks -- in which the attackers, while not necessarily suicide bombers, are willing to fight to the death -- seen in Mumbai.

So does the assault on Mumbai spell the death-knell for what had been gradually warming ties between Pakistan and India?

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