Washington, Nov 30: The aftermath of Mumbai terror strikes could provoke heightened violence across South Asia, if Indian and Pakistani leaders allowed these atrocities to undo the recent rapprochement between their two governments, an editorial in the Boston Globe has said.
It said: "Those leaders will come under intense pressure to stoke nationalist passions but they need to do the opposite: exercise restraint and practise prudent statesmanship." "The terrorists' "barely concealed ties to Pakistan" suggest that a key objective of the Mumbai assault was to fan the dying flames of Indian-Pakistani conflict, which is all the more reason for both governments to avoid falling into that "treacherous trap". The Indian government's first priority should be to make a crucial distinction for the Indian public and to explain to his people that even if there were Pakistanis among the terrorists, and even if the killers set out from Karachi, that does not mean they were acting on orders from Pakistan's elected civilian government," added the editorial.
India's leaders know that extremist Pakistani groups as well as Al Qaeda have a strong interest in provoking fresh hostilities between Pakistan and India. A revival of India-Pakistan tension could relieve much of the domestic pressure on those groups; it could justify a renewal of support for the local and Afghan Taliban on the part of the ISI; and it could return the domestic focus in Pakistan to the plight of Muslims in Indian-ruled Kashmir. Pakistan's leaders need to co-operate unstintingly with India's investigation into the Mumbai attacks.
"And if it turns out that the ISI - which sponsored the Taliban and other militants in the past - was implicated in the Mumbai savagery, Zardari's government will have to come clean and punish the criminals in its midst," it suggested.