Indian restraint contrasts Israeli belligerence

Published: December 31, 2008 - 17:17 Updated: January 6, 2009 - 14:42

By Sanjay Kapoor, New Delhi, Hardnews

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deserves congratulations for standing up to grave provocation by terrorists that attacked Mumbai last month, and subsequently, demands from right wing hawks in the country to respond militarily against Pakistan. Singh, always measured in his response, knew that intrinsic in Mumbai attacks was a plan far deeper then what is being understood by commentators that are rented by TV channels to parrot their war mongering agenda. The fact that he did not engage in mindless “surgical strikes” or pursuing an untried “cold war doctrine” shows that he has strong reservations about the manner in which the Israelis have gone about neutering Hamas in Gaza strip.
The Indian PM, also, did not succumb to the blatant manipulation engaged in by Western powers in the name of supporting India in its fight against terror.
Singh had fashioned a relatively untested “joint terror mechanism” with Pakistan during his trip to Havana in 2006 to probe terror acts. This mechanism was an outcome of his understanding that these acts of violence could be the doing of “non-state actors” who may have a vested interest in scuttling the haltingly slow peace process between the two nuclear armed neighbors. Interestingly, this mechanism was never really used by both parties. By resisting pressures from jingoistic elements to attack Pakistan, PM may have reiterated his faith in his earlier belief that the “elements in Pakistan” who committed those horrific atrocities may not have had anything to do with the new democratically elected government in Islamabad. Singh may have also shown agreement with the view in a section of foreign policy establishment that the Mumbai attack may have been attempts by the powerful Pakistani army to wrest control from the beleaguered government of President Asif Ali Zardari. A more muscular response from India expressed through amassing the army at the border or activating the air-bases would have given space to the Pakistan army chief, General Kayani, to ride rough shod over the civilian administration.
During this crisis, sources claim, Singh has realized how western powers are using their professed support for India’s war against terror to execute their own agenda. Sources close to the PM told Hardnews that US may be keen to use terror attacks by Lashkar-e-taiyyba (LET) in Mumbai to prove to India that the FATA province bordering Afghanistan is the epicenter of global terror and it would be wise of the Indian army to fight alongside them to smoke them out from there. In other words, US, which is bleeding due to the economic slowdown, wants Indian army to fight its battle in Afghanistan. Singh, sources claim, knows the game plan of the Americans and the implications of their not so veiled hints at helping find a solution to the Kashmir problems. Sources close to PM feel that pressure on India may increase when the Democrats takes over the administration on January 20. President Obama, in his interviews has hinted at appointing a mediator for Kashmir. India has always opposed third party mediation.
Similarly, India, despite its robust trade ties, does not think much of Chinese government’s offer to broker peace between the two countries. Hardnews magazine was informed by these sources that Chinese cannot “honestly” broker détente between India and Pakistan as they work together routinely to queer New Delhi’s pitch. Strategic establishment in New Delhi believes that Chinese have provided wherewithal Islamabad to become a nuclear power. With India, weathering the economic slowdown better than China and other countries, there is jealousy all around that it may really emerge as a serious regional power-a phenomenon that could be quite daunting for Beijing as well as Pakistan.
Armed with this understanding, Singh does not want to do anything that lands India in a serious trap and smothers its chances of being an economic power house of Asia. A war, provoked by dubious elements would have caused immeasureable harm to the poverty racked sub-continent.
Indian government is, however, hoping that there are no more Mumbai type attacks. Another violence of that nature would make it difficult for Manmohan Singh to keep his troops in the barracks.