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India; What next? December 2, 2008

Posted by neoavatara in World Politics.
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/03/world/asia/03mumbai.html?hp

India has demanded that Pakistan turn over multiple wanted fugitives.  These include Dawood Ibrahim, described in news reports as a powerful gangster and India’s most-wanted fugitive, who was accused of organizing bombings in Mumbai in 1993. The list also included Masood Azhar, a suspected terrorist freed from prison in India in exchange for the release of hostages aboard a hijacked Indian Airlines aircraft in December, 1999, news reports said.

Now, this move is far from a surprise.  India makes these kind of requests every time there is a major terrorist attack.

And Pakistan, as usual, will refuse, regardless of what facts are presented to them.

This is the routine.  But what next?  Is 11/26/2008 in Mumbai different, or just another bump in the road?  Will the world community put any pressure on Pakistan to do more?  And how much pressure can Pakistan withstand before crumbling because of the stress?

Right now, to me it does not appear that anything will happen.  the U.S.A. has bigger worries, a.k.a. Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden.  They would like to help, but Mr. Obama has bigger problems, and will likely use diplomacy to quiet things down more than do anything tangible.  The other world powers frankly care little if at all.  You really think Europe, Japan, or China will do anything?  Don’t hold your breath.

So unless Mr. Obama does something extremely surprising, it will be status quo.  That, unfortunately, may not be enough for India.  The opposition party, the BJP, is already running ads blaming Mr. Singh and his ministers for this attack. Anger among the public is at all time levels, and elections are coming in the spring.  Mr. Singh and the Congress party will not survive elections unless something substantial happens between now and the election, and they know it.  This does not mean military action.  But anything short of going to war with Pakistan may be on the table.

UPDATED 7 P.M. EST 12/2/2008

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/02/pakistan.zardari.lkl/index.html

Pakistani Prime Minister Asif Ali Zardari denied his nation was involved in last week’s deadly attacks on Mumbai, India, and told CNN on Tuesday he’s seen no evidence that a suspect in custody is a Pakistani national as Indian officials claim.  He claims that ‘stateless vigilantes’ committed the crime.

He may be right.  Let us assume for the moment he is right.  That by no way gets Pakistan off the hook, if these mercenaries are acting freely on Pakistani soil.  Again, the ball is in Pakistan’s, and ultimately Zaradari’s, court.

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