Challenges Within -November 2006
India’s war on terrorism is only getting tougher
By Ghazala Wahab
Three months after the serial attack on the local trains in Mumbai, India’s National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan conceded on a television channel that India does not have clinching evidence against Pakistan to prove that the attacks which killed over 200 people were its handiwork. To be fair to him, he does not absolve Pakistan completely. According to him, India has good, but not clinching evidence against Pakistan. In simple terms, he means that he believes that Pakistan’s ISI is involved but he does not have evidence to back his faith. So, one cannot really accuse the Indian government of not blaming Pakistan as a matter of habit (in other words, going soft on Pakistan), but at the same time one cannot blame Pakistan if it fails to take action against the terrorists and their benefactors on its soil because we have not given it clinching evidence. Confusing? Well, that’s the way with diplomacy. Given that secretary level talks are to resume between India and Pakistan after a long lull, one cannot really blame the NSA for ‘nuancing’ India’s official position, which gives both countries enough room to carry on talking notwithstanding a few attacks here and there.

In the same interview the NSA also said that the much-touted joint mechanism on terrorism may eventually amount to nothing as India is going to see how Pakistan responds to the ‘good but not the clinching evidence’ that it presents it with. Fortunately, one didn’t have to wait too long to see how Pakistan reacts as the spokesperson of Pakistan’s foreign office, Tasneem Aslam, quickly made a statement admonishing India for finger-pointing. Talking to Voice of America, she said, that Narayanan’s interview is, “a lesson which must be learnt by Indian agencies and security forces that they should not blame Pakistan without evidence.” She added that there was a tendency in the Indian government to blame every incident on Pakistan without evidence.
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