India’s Congress wins more time, space to plan Pakistan response

December 9, 2008

India’s governing Congress party’s unexpectedly good showing  in a clutch of state elections should  give Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a little more breathing space as he considers a response to Pakistan for the Mumbai attacks which New Delhi says were orchestrated from there.

Imagine a scenario in which the Congress had lost all five states whose results were announced this week (results from Jammu and Kashmir, the sixth state, will be released later this month). The knives would have been out both within his increasingly restless Congress party and from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, which has targeted him for being soft on national security, running ads with blood splattered against a black background in the middle of the Mumbai siege.

In the event, the Congress took three of the five states, including Delhi, which though small was this  election seen as a bit of a barometer of middle-class India, the section perhaps most outraged by the Mumbai attacks. Ultimately, local issues appeared to have played a decisive role as they have in most elections especially in a democracy like India’s where a large number of people depend on the government for jobs, subsidies  and general patronage.

But the anger for the attacks remains, quite apart from the bread and butter issues. Singh himself  said as much, telling reporters in New Delhi last Friday that India feels a sense of hurt and anger as never seen before and was waiting for Pakistan to act.

{Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s HQ in Muridke, Pakistan. Photo by Reuters’ Mohsin Raza]

So what will he do now ? Stratfor says given the political and national security compulsions, it’s hard to  see a path that avoids Indian retaliation for the attacks New Delhi says were carried out by members of  the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group suspected of close ties to Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence.

It lays bare a range of options before India’s military planners from air strikes not just on militant camps in Kashmir but also on the ISI, to a naval blockade to bring a nation already  in serious economic difficulties to its knees. The effectiveness of a strike on a few militant camps in Kashmir is debatable, especially when its members are spread across Pakistan including the Punjab. It would probably have a more symbolic value  than anything.

A strike on the ISI headquarters is another matter and almost certain to provoke retaliation. A naval  blockade plays to India’s strength at sea. But it is nearly impossible  in a situation where bulk of supplies for U.S.-led coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan come through  Karachi port and then driven overland.

Unless the United States were to find an alternative route, through Russia/Central Asia, and it’s a question that has acquired more urgency after the attacks in Peshawar, there is no way it would allow a blockade of  Karachi.

Above all, every one of these actions these carry the very real risk of escalation, and in any war gaming exercise in South Asia, the nuclear threat must also be factored . “All of India’s options are either ineffective or dangerous but inactivity is politically and strategically the least satisfactory route for New Delhi,” the intelligence consulting firm said.

The only way India can avoid attacks is if Pakistan makes major concessions. It has raided a Lashkar camp and arrested some of its leaders.

But is that enough so far as New Delhi is concerned?

{Burnt military vehicles in Peshawar. Pic by Reuters Stringer]


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There is yet another way for the Americans, let India reclaim & seize back the Northern Areas forcefully grabbed by Pakistan in 1948,

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

Another way which I think the US will open for itself is declaring pakistan as a terrorist state and invade it.But we may have to wait for another attack by terrorists using pakistani soil to plan an attack on american interests.

Posted by Om | Report as abusive

All Indian bloggers advocating the use of force against Pakistan make clear India only understands the language of force. Let it be, Pakistan is a powerful nation that posseses lethal force to destroy its enemies.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Mr. Umair – you seems to not understand the the fireworks has already begun, with the mumbai strike, if not with the previous terrorist strikes.

Pakistan is in shambles, claiming that to be a powerful country is height of ignorance.

I wouldnt claim India to be a superpower – but atleast it is big, diverse and have several means of sustenance.

I really dont know what keep Pakistan afloat – except for the American assistance and all those jihadi industry. Pakistan is essentially surviving by blackmailing international community that they either help the government of the day survive with aid and inaction , or risk the real jihadis take over.

And dont get me wrong, i dont say this in a contemptuous way – more in a frustrated way. And USA is equally or more to blame for this compared to Pakistan itself. They created this jihadi machinery – with all its funding, training and sustanence systems – to serve their interest in Afghaniztan during the cold war – not they themselves have no idea how to control it.

You Pakistanis should wake up to the reality. Patriotism and standing up for the country is commendable – but please come out of the illusion and look at the long term.

By and large, nobody in india cares about pakistan. Ignore extremist politicians – they are always there everywhere. May be folks get excited during cricket match or war, but that is pretty much it. Everybody is worried how to make a living for themselves. On the contrary you guys have this enormous machinery, who do nothing but read Quran, preach hatred and train for suicide missions – extremely pathetic, Sorry.

-Common Sense.

Posted by Common sense | Report as abusive

Comeon umair..the whole world is seeing how lethal and powerful nation pakistan is…which cannot provide security to one kyberpass..when pakistan cannot contain group of injured taliban men who came to pakistan from afgan for years now..sure we are terrified with pakistans power

Posted by Om | Report as abusive

Might as well turn Pakistan into India’s Iraq! Obama policy may turn out to be ever so changing after all!

The Mumbai attacks might as well be India’s 9/11, if you believe what conspiracy theorists say … Check out olitics-pakistan/the-mumbai-attacks/

Posted by TheLahoreTribune | Report as abusive

Common sense
Remember one thing, we Pakistanis dont believe in blind patriotism. We back patriotism with concrete action, there is not one Pakistan, there are a 160 million Pakistan’s, how many of those can you finish. There is a Pakistan in every Pakistani’s heart. There was the Prime minister in 1970s who said we will eat grass but build the nuclear weapon, there was that young Pakistani studying Physics in Holland who saw Pakistan being dismembered in 1971 and he took up the mission to rebuild Pakistan’s honour. We are the guardians of this sacred land. India has time and again proved to be an eternal enemy. Ever wonder why Pakistan has always fought covert and overt wars with India, in the oceans, the mountains and deserts even the snowy peaks of Siachin. mountain skirmishes, guirella warfare. Infantry battles, dog fights over the skies. Probably we need a final war to let India know the amount of force Pakistan posseses.
After that Indians like Anup will surely come to terms that India cannot sieze an inch of land from Pakistan no matter what amount of force is used.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Land grabbing thuggery by force, try it out somewhere else. Pakistan is not an easy game.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Thank god people in pakistan are safe from the terror that every indian has to suffer in india

there are communist sia/7252178.stm

there are right wing hindus- theese groups have huge influence over certain parts of the BJP   /19/orissa-violence-india-christianity- hinduism

The there are sikhs fighing for a indepdent homeland known as khalistan ism#Sikh_extremism_in_India

Then there is ethnic fighting beetween shias and sunnis w_clamped_in_Lucknow_after_Shia-Sunni_cl ash/articleshow/1842012. cms

Then you have lower caste hindus fighting higher caste hindus 1-duts.html

Then we have indian army killing muslims protestors sia/7555398.stm video_and_audio/default.stm&go=toolbar&q =kashmir&a mp;tab=av&start=3&scope=all
( if the above link down work, go to the bbc website search Kashmir go to audio and video and look at videos on page 2)

Then we have ethnic violence beetween different ethinic groups in india- mind the same city mumbai were immigrants were burned alive and india did nothing now tourist die and everyones up in arms? at least Mr Thackeray will be happy no more immigrants to take jons sia/7694498.stm

Then we have hindus killing sikhs

Then we have sikhs killing hindu president   /stories/october/31/newsid_2464000/2464 423.stm

Then we have homegrown muslims fighting hindus- indian mujahideen sia/7398989.stm

you can ignore the facts india is the worlds largest failed state and out side the cosmpolitioon cities the indian federal goverment has as much influnce as my left foot does

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

To all you Indians who think they dont care about Pakistan. Yes you do dont lie kids cos I read the bloggs and same pathetic indians writing garbage about Pakistan. Never been to the country and think whaterver star news portrays is the real Pakistan. I dont think so, that is a simple wishful indian mentality from your leader to scum bags on the streets. Get out of hindu fanatic mode and start to think outside the box.

Grow up and treat your neighours as you would like to treated. Instead of aiding all the terrorism in Pakistan NWFP, Balouchistan and in the cities like karachi. Yes you know too well RAW is involved and we know.

Mini superpower and cant protect its citizens pathetic and your commandoes they are a laughing stock of the world. Seeing your army on the news reminds me of dads army programme lol.

If you had a margin of hope that you could take on Pakistan, you hindu fanatics would not wait a sec but the reality is that Pakistan is strong because people of Pakistan are strong, hospitable, generous, caring and most of all open, can look after thereself. without bowing down like your leaders to the West for help we stand and deliver! I love Pakistan! Zinda Bad!!!!

Posted by Kashmiri786 | Report as abusive

As a matter of fact,I wonder Indian Navy can attack a ship which it thought belonged to pirates near Gulf of Eden,and later it was reported by BBC that the said ship belonged to Thailand and was a commercial ship,how Indian Navy failed to locate the ship which carried the attackers to Mumbai.How come the attackers knew about the indoor layouts of the attacked localities?How they have gathered ammunition inside Hotels? How they got inside the Hotels with arms?Who has killed ATS chief Kurkurray who has unveilded the Servind Indian Army Colonel and Terrorist Hindus behind the killing of Pakistani Muslims in India and Indian Muslims?Who fired Kurkurray from back as on his back side there were only security forces?Who has fired at the Jews at Nariman house(as per some reports Jews were killed by Heroic Commandos who were send there to complete the special assigned tasks)?Why not India agreeing to include Pakisatn also in investigatio Teams?Can Pakistan also ask India to handover Serving Colonel Prohat of Indian Army to Pakistan as he has been mastermind of killing Pakistanis in Samjhota Express bombings which India blamed to Pakistan at that time also?Come on India and Indian friends, just think about some questions and just use your mind to think, not your government’s resources and think tanks.

Posted by zahoor | Report as abusive

Pakistan and India are two separate nations now so why is there still so much fighting after all these years? Before the partition our next door neighbours were Sikhs and they we had very good realtions with them. If there is anybody or anything to blame for all this it is in actual fact Colonialism that caused all this. Before the Brits, French and other Europeans came to colonise many countries around the world everybody was living more successfully and peacefully than them – and then there are huge civil wars and artificial borders created. I’m not just talking about Pakistan and India, if you look at many African countries today that were previously colonised you will see that due to these artificial borders whole families were torn apart and enemies thrown to live together.These wars still go on today.
I will say though that India really need to stop saying that Pakistan is taking no action against terrorism. I have first hand experience of people being arrested – and these people were innocent- in a response to the mumbai attacks. I think that even if Pakistan arrested one person from every household in the country the indian prime minister would say it is not enough as I have heard from his mouth so many times before. What are Pakistan doing in their help of America?
Although that is another thing in itself! Is america waging a ” war on terror” or is it in actual fact fighting a war against pakistan from inside it’s own country using it’s own resources and own army!! I would say the latter.
And in repsonse to Mr/Ms so called ‘common sense’ Pakistan is actually so abundant in natural gases, food, it’s ability to manufacture it’s own weapons, and coal that it has the potential to be entirely self sustaining. The food produced in the punjab of pakistan alone is so great that they could feed the whole population for 200 years! They have the world’s 6th largest army and they have thousands of tonnes of natural fuel. What I would like to say though that Pakistan’s leadership does need work and a lot of it – but whose to say that India’s government isn’t just as corrupt? Pakistan gets found out at least!! Please don’t bring religion into this – many pakistanis are actually christian or hindu or sikh. I don’t think all indians are hindus so why would you think all Pakistanis are Muslim?
And also why do you think america and india are trying to close in on Pakistan? Because they are so threatened. They realise the potential of Pakistan and would as usual like to exploit. America is in no fit state to fihgt any more wars! They need help! They are still fighting two wars and their economy is failing. On top of that they’re running out of soldiers to send into Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq! They recently sent only a few thousand to an area where they were saying they needed a lot of work to be done. Why so little? Because they are failing. After 7 years in Afghanistan the Afghanis don’t want them not just the ‘militants and rebels’ the ordinary people. Why remain where you aren’t wanted? To do as Israel do. Occupy and Control.
People need to wake up and smell the coffee this world ain’t all about fighting ‘Muslim Terrorists’ or Pakistanis and arabs. That’s just an excuse. Everyone knows but won’t admit that it’s not a war on terror. Its a war on ISLAM.

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive