A commentary by Xenia Dormandy in today's Washington Post asks "How Much Will India Endure?":
In December 2001 India and Pakistan almost went to war when a group of militants, based on Pakistani-controlled territory, attacked the Indian Parliament, killing nine people. India's response was to mobilize forces along its border with Pakistan. Predictably and understandably, Pakistan followed suit. The U.S. State Department ordered all non-vital personnel out of both countries, and the world prepared for what could well have been the first war ever between two nuclear powers.
But due largely to extensive, active and exhaustive mediation by central figures from the West, tensions were ratcheted down, and in time forces were demobilized.
But -- and here's the crux of the matter -- how long can India, Indians and the Singh government withstand the constant pressure from militant groups before they have to react? By any measure of international diplomacy, they've already been extraordinarily patient; compare their restraint with Israel's response to the kidnapping of its soldier or to the U.S. and Japanese responses to North Korea's missile tests.
Ms. Dormandy, noting all the progress towards peace that India and Pakistan have enjoyed since that crisis, tries to point the way to avoiding a return to the prior cold war between the countries. What seems to elude her is that if Pakistan were capable of the action she proposes -- shutting down the militant groups that operate within its borders -- then this attack would probably not have occurred at all. Pakistan has had ample opportunity in the past five years to defang the terrorists within its borders, and yet it has not done so. There is little reason to believe that the Pakistani government is capable of doing so now, even if some in that government are willing.
So far, India's government has not determined who is responsible for the bombing, but every sign points to Islamic terror groups, most likely Lashkar-e-Toiba. However, some believe the attacks too sophisticated for the Kashmiri terror group to have carried it out on their own. The death toll now approaches 200, as the police search the wreckage of seven trains for evidence.
UPDATE: Islamic terrorist groups are denying responsibility for the bombing. An article datelined Islamabad (!) quotes two groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. "'These are inhuman and barbaric acts. Islam does not permit the killing of innocent people,' a man who identified himself as 'Doctor Ghaznavi', spokesman of the Lashkar-e-Taiba said," the Times of India reported.
This has the air of doublespeak: many fundamentalist Muslims have a curious definition of civilian, a word that we understand broadly as any non-combatant, and which they understand as only Muslim non-combatants who are not also apostates.
The Times also has an extensive comments thread under the headline "Mumbai Blasts: What did you witness?" Unfortunately, it does not contain posts from actual witnesses; it is mostly a minor flame war between angry Indians and Muslims who wish to deflect blame away from their faith as a whole. But this jihadi gem did get posted:
ALLAH has given punishment to india and kafirs at mumbai yesterday,now kafirs are crying ..
when innoncent Muslim brothers are killed in india and in Kashmir and Pakistan ,israel no one cry ,when we take some step every one cry .
INSHA ALLAH WE WILL MAKE INDIA AS IRI(ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF INDIA)
i request all the Muslim brothers to get unite and then plan ,vote for Muslim party and wait for the majority ,once we put SHARIAT rule in IRI till then we have to continue out JIHAD against this kafir country .
for how long we will be slaves under kafir country ,we need indepencance and our JIHAD will continue till india is made ISLAMIC REPUBLIC.
we should now concentrate more on technical education and try to join army and secret agencies so that we can foil their wrong intensions of attacking Muslims in Kashmir and Pakistan.
kafirs are cowards people ,once we start our mission they will have to go only to nepal ,no other place is left for them now on earth.
LA ILLA ILL ALLAH ,there is no god other than ALLAH and no religion other than ISLAM.
ALLAH HU AKBAR
How quaint. It would be a relief to know that his immediate culture understood those words as evidence of an unbalanced mind, but alas, he probably gets top marks from a fundamentalist imam for thinking as he does, and for expressing his aspirations so clearly.
[NOTE: I'm switching to "Mumbai", preferred by Indians to "Bombay", because I doubt after yesterday there are many American readers who do not know that "Mumbai" refers to the large and famous city on India's western coast.]