Connecting the dots in Mumbai
by Salim Mansur
The nature of the terrorist strike on Mumbai implicates Pakistani authorities, despite ritual denials of the present civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari.
This attack could not have been launched without large scale planning and logistics support, and these could not have been provided without a secure base of operation in the knowledge of Pakistani authorities.
David Pryce-Jones, an astute observer of the Middle East, wrote a long time ago that any Arab-Muslim dictator possessing a "nuclear weapon would be in a position of being able to enforce his ambitions upon any neighbour or rival without equivalent response." Furthermore, nuclear weapons "would place the tyranny of custom once and for all beyond the reach of reform or modernization."
Pakistan is such a country. With history of nasty dictators and a broken culture, while being at odds with the modern world, it has been a spawning ground and haven for Islamists.
But Pakistan also is ideologically an anti-Hindu and anti-Semitic state.
The forceful partitioning of British India by the proponents of Pakistan was driven more by the animus towards the majority Hindu population than any positive vision of what it might eventually be as a Muslim majority state.
The subsequent history of Pakistan, established as a home for Muslims to be free of the feared Hindu majority rule, soon became one long nightmare of ethnic and sectarian blood letting, civil war and military dictatorships.
Pakistan's failure to be a normally functioning state when contrasted with the relative success of India as a working democracy has been a bitter pill for the ruling elite.
Moreover, the wars launched by Pakistan against India and defeats suffered have been deeply humiliating to a people brought up on the belief of belonging to a superior martial race of warriors.
Since Pakistan declared itself a nuclear weapon state following India's testing of nuclear weapons in 1998, the military has been ready to use the threat of nuclear blackmail as a cover to launch its repeated overt and covert aggression against India.
In 1999 the Kargil fiasco revealed the extent to which the Pakistani military was prepared to push India into a war over Kashmir.
And while that war was averted by the urgent diplomacy of the Clinton administration, the message was clear: Pakistan would not make peace since tensions with India served well the domestic needs of the military elite in a devil's pact with fundamentalist religious parties and Islamist groups linked with the network of al-Qaida.
New Delhi cannot afford to be lacking a military response. India's failure to demonstrate her military resolve undermines her security and economic progress, and makes a mockery of her claim as an emerging global actor deserving permanent membership in the Security Council.
Military option is not a substitute for diplomacy but without it diplomacy is a fig leaf of eventual surrender.
Pakistan is unravelling along its Afghan frontier. India can mount, with NATO members including Canada, greater pressure on this frontier by considering troop deployment in Afghanistan.
India's willingness to militarily support a democratically elected Afghan government will alter the security map in southwest Asia.
It also will make the Pakistani ruling elite ponder hard if it wants to lose a country while funding Islamist terrorists to wage war it cannot win.
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