Are militants, or even hawks within the Pakistani establishment, trying to undermine the peace process with India, now that President Pervez Musharraf has removed his uniform and civilians are squabbling for power?
The dust has scarcely settled on another horrific bomb attack in India, and the investigation has only just begun into the synchronised blasts in Jaipur that killed around 60 people .
It is still far too early to be drawing any firm conclusions, but the timing of the blasts is already making some people wonder whether Pakistan was involved.
The explosions came a week before India‘s foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee was due to visit Islamabad to review the peace process, his first visit since a new, civilian government took over in Pakistan.
It also came just a few days after some of the worst violence this year in Kashmir . India was unhappy that its soldiers came under heavy fire from Pakistani last Thursday along the Line of Control as armed militants tried to sneak into Kashmir .
It was also ten years since India conducted five nuclear tests, on May 11 and 13, 1998.
Now that the army is no longer running Pakistan, is the powerful military intelligence agency, the ISI, flexing its muscles again and warning its new civilian “bosses” to abandon the cause of Kashmir at their peril?
South Asia has always been fertile ground for conspiracy theories, and I don’t want to be drawn too far down the route of Machiavellian fantasies.
The relatively sophisticated and synchronised nature of Tuesday’s attacks suggest the perpetrators could have received training abroad, perhaps in Bangladesh or Pakistan, security analysts tell me. But it was probably Indian nationals who carried out the attack, and there is no evidence of direct orders from abroad, they say. Nor does it have to be an ISI plot.
Islamist militant groups in both Pakistan and Bangladesh seem intent on fanning hatred between Muslims and Hindus in India, analysts and diplomats say, an effort which has largely been unsuccessful in recent years. They may be outside the control of the establishment in both countries, and there is evidence the militants have already turned on their former masters.
Nevertheless, the Indian establishment does see some worrying signals from across the border. Pakistan‘s army chief Ashfaq Kayani was quoted this month as reaffirming the commitment of the army to the cause of Kashmir.And Sayed Salahuddin , head of the biggest Kashmiri guerrilla group Hizbul Mujahideen, derided the Indo-Pak peace process last month and vowed to continue a holy war against India.
India security analysts allege that militants are now queueing up to cross the Line of Control in Kashmir, perhaps bent on disrupting elections there later this year.
I have lived on both sides of the border and would welcome thoughts from people in both countries.Is the ISI up to dirty tricks? Or should India solve its own problems without always blaming a foreign hand?