A Spanish approach won’t work
Amitav Ghosh writes an op-ed in New York Times, continuing the western liberal media (mainly BBC/NYT) motif of equating India and Pakistan as equal sufferers of terrorism:
The choice of targets in Mumbai clearly owes something to the September bombing of the Islamabad Marriott, another high-profile site sure to include foreign casualties. Here already there is common ground between the two countries — for if this has been a bad year for India in regard to terrorism, then for Pakistan it has been still worse.
Ghosh isn’t as bad of an apologist as some of the other recent commentators, but his political opinions are equally naive. Ghosh recommends a Spanish-style response in the aftermath of the Madrid bombings:
If 9/11 is a metaphor for one kind of reaction to terrorism, then 11-M (as it is known in Spanish) should serve as shorthand for a different kind of response: one that emphasizes vigilance, patience and careful police work in coordination with neighboring countries. This is exactly the kind of response India needs now, and fortunately this seems to be the course that the government, led by the Congress Party, has decided to follow.
While Spain has suffered from internal terrorism at the hands of the Basque militants, I doubt if the the Portuguese are as single mindedly devoted to the cause of seeking destruction of its neighbor as ours. In the last 30 years or so, isn’t only Pakistan that India has had to face, but other neighboring countries like Nepal or Bangladesh haven’t been the friendliest either, often harboring suspected terrorist, if not providing a launching pad for them.
While a non-(military)confrontational approach might not be a bad idea itself (although, as I will try to explain in another post, some flexing of military power is probably good in order to force a political solution), hoping for a great deal of co-operation from our neighbors is bit far-fetched.
And I have much less faith in the Congress Party than Ghosh.
Speaking of political parties, Ghosh inserts a rather pointless descriptor early in the article:
The secretary general of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the leading Hindu nationalist political faction,
Now whether you agree with BJP’s political views or not, you have to admit that it is a mainstream political party in India, and the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha. Calling it a nationalist political faction, makes it sound like an Indian version of the BNP or Family First.