Terrorists revisited Mumbai
July 22, 2011
The terrorist attacks in Mumbai on July 13, 2011, generated impression that the forthcoming India-Pakistan Ministerial level dialogue would be the first casualty. The sanity, however, prevailed and the Indian leadership did not directly allege Pakistan. Islamabad also offered assistance in probing the terrorist plot. This mature behavior of the Indian government and responsible act of Islamabad would have constructive impact on both states bilateral relations in particular and regional prosperity in general.
The terrorists exploded three bombs at the Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar, and Dadar West in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. These coordinated bomb explosions killed 19 people and injured more than 130.Neither one has claimed responsibility for the blasts, nor has Indian government named the operators, till the writings of these lines. The Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in a press conference stated that it was too early ‘to point a finger at any one group’. Subsequently, he drew attention towards the dangerous neighborhood of India.While condemning of the terrorist attacks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh scrupulously avoided even the vaguest insinuation about the involvement of Pakistan-based elements in the attacks.
The Indian ruling elite’s pragmatic approach would not only bolster the dialogue process between India and Pakistan, but also oblige the Indian law enforcement agencies to focus on the domestic fissures, which have been maturing in the Indian society. The Indian state and society is very much victim of intra-state conflict. Previously, the Indian ruling elite blame the neighboring states, especially Pakistan, without addressing the domestic causes of terrorism. This look-within approach definitely nurtures the culture of self-responsibility within India, which is prerequisite to combat the menace of terrorism.
The Mumbai blasts highlighted volatile domestic scene of India. Many analysts opined that the Indian economic growth has widened the gulf between the rich and poor classes. The poor, especially the Indian Muslim youth, is very much frustrated and lacks hope in the Indian political and economic system. They are frustrated, and thereby inclined towards criminal activities. For instance, it was reported, in the Indian press that the Indian Intelligence agencies had information about the Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative like Abdul SubhanTauqeer (in the western India) and DrShahnawaz (in the north India). They were trying to revive the IM, after a major crackdown on the group’s top leaders in 2008.
The Indian ruling elite pragmatic response thwarted terrorist plan to derail the confidence building process between India and Pakistan. The External Affairs Minister confirmed that the India-Pakistan Foreign Minister level dialogue would take place according to the schedule. It was scheduled to be held in New Delhi in the last week of July 2011. Therefore, both sides official met on July 18, 2011, to work out the modalities for the forthcoming ministerial meeting. They also discussed the processes to increase the travel and trade connections in Kashmir. These optimistic developments, obviously, do not completely erase the irritants between the belligerent neighbors. Therefore, both sides have to act consciously and pragmatically to resolve their bilateral disputes.
India and Pakistan maintain divergence of opinion on the Afghanistan affairs. The United States support to the New Delhi’s Afghanistan policy disturbs Islamabad. The Indians too much presence in Kabul is perceived as a perilous by Islamabad. The Ministerial-level engagement provides an opportunity to both sides to outline a harmonious plan for Afghanistan, which is essential for sustainable peace in the country and combating the Al Qaeda led terrorist syndicate in Afghanistan.
The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, once again, intensified the significance of the Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism between India and Pakistan, which was constituted after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to combat the menace of terrorism against the state and society in South Asia during the meeting on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement, Havana Summit, in September 2006. Unfortunately, neither New Delhi nor Islamabad has given a serious thought to the Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism.
In reality, the ordinary people in both India and Pakistan have been living in a fear of terrorism. The transnational terrorist groups have continuously been spoiling the regional peace.It is an established fact that, neither India nor Pakistan alone combats successfully the menace of terrorism. They need to chalk out a cooperative strategy to safe their citizens from the scourge of terrorism.