Sunday, December 14, 2008

LET's Pretend

The Indians would rather let Pakistan handle the jihadis inside Pakistan. I asked whether the Indians will be satisfied with Pakistan's actions against Lashkar-e-Taiba(LET), given that I think we are not clear from fallout from the Mumbai massacre.

So is India likely to be happy with how Pakistan is "holding" the head of LET, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed?

Under intense pressure to show some resolve against homegrown terrorism, the Pakistani government claims to have arrested the Lashkar official suspected of running the Mumbai attacks, and then on Thursday and Friday it shut down dozens of Jamaat-ud-Dawa offices and said it had detained many of the group’s members.

But the government has also taken clear steps to soften the blow, like allowing Mr. Saeed to hold a defiant news conference before his house arrest began. Mr. Saeed maintains that neither he nor Jamaat-ud-Dawa have had connections to Lashkar for more than six years.

As was apparent at his home on Friday, the government is clearly reluctant to cut off Mr. Saeed and his group too abruptly, partly out of expediency but partly out of fear, too.

So how likely is India to be satisfied with how Pakistan is reacting to the terrorists sheltered inside Pakistan with the protection of powerful elements within the Pakistani government?

Should tensions rise, given the close proximity between these two nuclear armed states the risk of taking the first military hit rises as well. If the tensions go on long enough at heightened states of alert, perhaps escalating as each side acts, somebody may lose their nerve and strike first.

We could still see war on the subcontinent. Worst case, "nuclear winter" gets a new definition.

We have many interests to balance out there (as in many areas). We have a tough job to come out of this with those interests intact and without a lot of casualties.