India and Pakistan

The World

"The World's" Aaron Schachter takes a look at how the terrorist attacks in Mumbai could raise tensions between India and Pakistan.

When terror attacks occur in India, often fingers are pointed in one direction: West, toward neighboring Pakistan. The countries have fought three wars since their independence from British colonial rule in 1947 -- two of them involved Kashmir. Nascent peace talks between the mostly Hindu India, and its Muslim neighbor were derailed in 2004. New Delhi blamed Islamabad for the bombing of India's embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accused outside forces of laying siege to India's financial capital. Singh said there will be a cost for India's neighbors if they don't take steps to stop their territory from being used to launch terror attacks on India.

Analysts say despite the Indian Prime Minister's words, this time relations between the two countries could survive the carnage in Mumbai.

A former Pakistani diplomat says the long-standing enmity between India and Pakistan has been waning over the past few years, thanks to a series of confidence-building measures, what he calls CBMs: "The CBMs have brought about a degree of cordiality between the two countries; they have strengthened the peace lobbies; and they have convinced both countries on the need to continue pushing the normalization process."

Recently, Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, condemned to attacks, and warned against jumping to conclusions about who orchestrated them: "I've come to build bridges. I've come to say that we have to develop a better understanding. Let's not jump to conclusions. Let's not go in for knee-jerk reactions. We are living through terrorism on a daily basis. We've had a similar incident in Islamabad -- the Marriott was attacked. Extremism and terrorism is a common enemy, and we have to pool in our resources."

The coordination and training that went into the assaults on multiple targets in Mumbai suggested that they were perpetrated by a well-trained and well-funded group. And most likely, says Alex Neil, a group that has agents based in Mumbai or elsewhere in India.

Neil is head of the Asia Security Program at London's Royal United Services Institute, a defense and security think-tank: "I suspect that these attacks [were] ... more an internal dynamic, in other words, Muslim resentment within India towards the much larger Hindu population, and the suggestion that Muslims inside India have become sort of a second-class citizen."

Neil says the next two days will be key, as investigators identify the terrorists captured or killed: "If it turns out that they are Pakistani who have infiltrated into the Indian mainland, or if it turns out that they are Kashmiri, then that will obviously derail the Indi-Pak peace process, because the automatic sentiment in Delhi will be this has been with the collusion of, one way or another, the Pakistani authorities."

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