Another Terror Attack Could
Plunge South Asia Into War

By K.P. Nayar
The Telegraph - London

WASHINGTON - Home minister L.K. Advani began whirlwind talks at the highest levels of the Bush administration today by cautioning Americans that five faceless terrorists causing another incident akin to the December 13 attack on Parliament could plunge South Asia into war.

Making out a strong case on behalf of India on the world stage since December 13, the burden of Advani,s argument with attorney-general John Ashcroft, secretary of state Colin Powell and others today was as follows.

Unless General Pervez Musharraf can convince New Delhi that he is serious about putting down terrorism directed against India, another attack like the one on Parliament will be blamed on Musharraf by Indian public opinion even if his government did not organise or facilitate it.

Musharraf,s steps against Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and other terrorist outfits operating from Pakistani soil can carry conviction in India only if he backs it up, as a starting point, by actually handing over at least some of the criminals listed by India for extradition and trial.

Musharraf has so far absolved his country of any responsibility for terrorist incidents within India. If he is to be believed, not a single Pakistani has done anything to hurt India.

Puncturing a big hole in Musharraf,s self-proclaimed alibis to avert a conflict and continue the low intensity war to bleed India with these arguments, Advani asked the Bush administration not to harp only on public opinion in Pakistan and about Musharraf,s domestic compulsions in having to move slowly and cautiously against jihadi outfits.
India too has similar compulsions, the home minister told Ashcroft, his host here and Powell, who is set to go to India and Pakistan in a few days.

Public opinion in India has been distrustful of Musharraf,s action against anti-Indian terrorists so far. In a democracy, Advani told the Bush team, it is very difficult to defy public opinion. The Americans ought to know that better than anyone else.

Sources privy to today,s talks said Advani gave a clear and concise exposition of Indian fears, suspicions and demands. The Indian side believes the home minister,s arguments will have a strong effect on the Bush administration which sees the need to avert war in South Asia as paramount to Washington,s current self-interest.

US soldiers do not want to get enmeshed in a long and dirty war in Afghanistan and using the Pakistani army to fight America,s war against the al Qaida and the Taliban can be continued only if there is no conflict along the Indo-Pakistan border.

Copyright © 2001 The Telegraph All rights reserved

Email This Article


This Site Served by TheHostPros