The attack by Muslim terrorists in Mumbai has been compared by the Indians as their 9/11. The question is will they respond in kind. Sand if so, what will be the geo-political consequences?
STRATFOR issued a Red Alert commenting on the possible consequences.
If the Nov. 26 attacks in Mumbai were carried out by Islamist militants as it appears, the Indian government will have little choice, politically speaking, but to blame them on Pakistan. That will in turn spark a crisis between the two nuclear rivals that will draw the
into the fray. United States
We will begin by assuming that the attackers are Islamist militant groups operating in
India, possibly with some level of outside support from . We can also see quite clearly that this was a carefully planned, well-executed attack. Pakistan
Given this, the Indian government has two choices.
First, it can simply say that the perpetrators are a domestic group. In that case, it will be held accountable for a failure of enormous proportions in security and law enforcement. It will be charged with being unable to protect the public. On the other hand, it can link the attack to an outside power:
. In that case it can hold a nation-state responsible for the attack, and can use the crisis atmosphere to strengthen the government’s internal position by invoking nationalism. Politically this is a much preferable outcome for the Indian government, and so it is the most likely course of action. This is not to say that there are no outside powers involved — simply that, regardless of the ground truth, the Indian government will claim there were. Pakistan
That, in turn, will plunge
Indiaand into the worst crisis they have had since 2002. If the Pakistanis are understood to be responsible for the attack, then the Indians must hold them responsible, and that means they will have to take action in retaliation — otherwise, the Indian government’s domestic credibility will plunge. The shape of the crisis, then, will consist of demands that the Pakistanis take immediate steps to suppress Islamist radicals across the board, but particularly in Pakistan Kashmir. will demand that this action be immediate and public. This demand will come parallel to U.S. demands for the same actions, and threats by incoming U.S. President Barack Obama to force greater cooperation from New Delhi . Pakistan
The Red Alert goes on to say that the last time such a bold terror attack on
In 2002 there was an attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi by Islamist militants linked to Pakistan. A near-nuclear confrontation took place between
Indiaand Pakistan, in which the United States brokered a stand-down in return for intensified Pakistani pressure on the Islamists.
In the current iteration, the demands will be even more intense. The Indians and Americans will have a joint interest in forcing the Pakistani government to act decisively and immediately. The Pakistani government has warned that such pressure could destabilize Pakistan. The Indians will not be in a position to moderate their position, and the Americans will see the situation as an opportunity to extract major concessions. Thus the crisis will directly intersect U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan.
The end result of this will not be pretty.
Therefore the events point to a serious crisis not simply between
We’ll have to see how this crisis develops once things become clearer on the ground.