The likelihood of a military action by Pakistan seems higher each day in this complex and escalating situation between these two nuclear neighbors.
To begin with, Pakistan is not a country in the usual sense while India is. Specifically Pakistan doesn’t seem to have branches of the state controlled by a central government. The organizations likely responsible for the series of brutal attacks on India through bombings in its financial district and shopping areas and so on, organizations such as the ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence coordinating agency or Inter Services Intelligence) do not seem to answer to the government of Pakistan. This leads to India’s dilemma…
Does the government of Pakistan actually encourage the ISI and other branches of the Pakistani military to conduct terrorist attacks on India? If so they are at war but the government is merely hiding behind the excuse of terrorism to abdicate direct responsability for the attacks.
Does the government not sponsor these attacks but is unable to control those branches of the state which at the moment clearly appear to be responsible for the attacks? If so then India would have less reason to attack the government but would still feel the need to deal militarily with the offices and facilities of the organizations which appear to have trained equipped and planned the missions to attack India.
Is Pakistan basically a failed state and each organization is working to its own agenda and there is no central body which can be said to have authority over the actions of the Pakistani Military? essentially this is the same as the paragraph above except for a matter of degree. The following video of Taliban-Al Queda offering to support the army of Pakistan with suicide bombers should the enemy be India does speak to who the likely allies are who are attacking India. Chances are that a large percentage of the ISI and other Pakistani agencies are working with the Muslim extremists and it can be argued that the taliban in some ways are the true government.
[kaltura-widget wid=”ukjbuj4sdg” width=”410″ height=”364″ addpermission=”3″ editpermission=”3″ /]It is worth noting that this video was broadcast on Indian mass media and available on the Times of India web site. This alone means the level of jingoism in the popular press in India is elevating putting pressure on India to take convincing action against Pakistan in some ways.
Stratfor makes the case that the Indian government which is dovish is weak and that if it fails to act will fail leading to a new Indian Government which is overtly hawkish. While its true that typically a hawkish party often softens its tone once it’s in actual power not acting is guaranteed to cause continued terrorist attacks in India and a growing loss of confidence in the governments ability to protect the interests and safety of the people of India.
The Times of India also broadcast this video about the identity of the one surviving terrorist in the Mumbai attacks as being Pakistani. As you will see, the Pakistani official government denies what is presented as clear evidence of Pakistani origins and support for his mission.
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All in all it would appear that the media is setting up the people of India for a military action of some kind on Pakistan. Its well worth reading the various Stratfor analysis of this situation available here on Vlad. Ill post some of the links at the bottom of this article. Add to this rumors of troop buildups along the India side of the India Pakistani border and higher military alert levels as well as Pakistani air force missions flying along the India border at increased frequency and for previously not done surveillance and it would appear that both sides are anticipating some military events.
This does not mean a war necessarily. It could be as little as Indian air strikes on the same target areas the US is conducting in lawless areas of Pakistan where the Taliban and Al Queda are based and operating from. It could also mean strikes against ISI facilities however within Pakistan proper and or training facilities for the Pakistani military where rumor has it the terrorists were prepared for the Mumbai attacks. This would certainly lead to escalation though and even the Government of Pakistan would have to take an official position against the Indian attacks no matter how justified.