How to respond to Mumbai

The terrorist attacks raised India-Pakistan tensions—was that the point?

“Now that the immediate crisis in Mumbai is over,” said Rachel Martin in ABC News online, the “questions and accusations are flying.” About 10 gunmen killed more than 180 people, and experts say it is “virtually impossible” that they “carried out the attacks on their own.” The lone surviving terrorist reportedly claims to be part of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Kashmiri Islamist militia with historical ties to Pakistan’s intelligence agency.

“Even if last week’s terrorist plot was hatched outside India,” said Asra Nomani in the Los Angeles Times, the probable backlash against India’s Muslims, mixed with their institutionalized discrimination and impoverishment, could push some of India’s “disenfranchised Muslim youth” to join the jihad movement. Since India has 150 million Muslims, second only to Indonesia in number, this is more than just India’s problem.

“So jihadists kill innocents in Mumbai” and the problem is “racial profiling”? said William Kristol in The New York Times. Lashkar-e-Taiba is a terrorist threat to the U.S. and Israel as well as to India, but the solution lies in Pakistan, not India’s domestic policies. We need to persuade the Pakistanis to deal with “those in their midst who are complicit” in this, and if they don’t, “other nations may have to act.”

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Actually, the best thing India and Pakistan can do now is “a lot of nonreacting,” said The Christian Science Monitor in an editorial. Terrorists try to “evoke fearful reactions that will further their aims,” and in this case the goal was likely to spoil warming relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. They should avoid the trap.

There’s one reaction we’d like from India: come up with an anti-terrorist apparatus, said The Times of India in an editorial. Hundreds have been killed in “serial blasts” across India since 2006, and after each one politicians have promised strong measures but done nothing. “How many deaths will it take”?

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