Why attack without provocation?
That the Hyderabad blasts occured because of the government’s failure to pursue intelligence leads is becoming increasingly clear (see these reports). But so far no one has attempted to analyse why they occured: what were the attackers’ intentions? No one, that is, other than Der alte.
Maverick discusses four possibilities, three of which have to do with the turmoil in Pakistan. First, pro-Musharraf elements may have attempted to provoke an Indian retaliation with a view to rally the warring civilian and military political formations around the general. Second, and in direct opposition to the first, anti-Musharraf elements may have calculated that an Indian retaliation is what they need in order to topple the dictator.
But it is the third possibility that is more interesting. Maverick argues that the attacks could have been a “sifting” strategy employed by an third power to discern how India plans to address the situation when the political crisis in Pakistan comes to a head. Indeed, the ‘external power’ may well be one of the factions fighting it out in Pakistan—a peek at India’s cards would be indispensable in the power struggle in Islamabad.
The fourth possibility has to do with India’s relations with the United States—that the attacks sought to deepen differences over foreign policy along communal lines. Not by Pakistan, but by other states stand to lose from closer ties between India and the United States.
Clearly, given the air of crisis in Pakistan it is imprudent for India to provide leverage for one or the other players in that country’s power struggle, not least because it’s hard to say who will use it to what effect. Broaching the topic may only lead to an exchange over the “need for evidence”. The international environment too has changed—the world takes allegations of Pakistani involvement at face value while Pakistan’s denials get an unsympathetic reception. So while there should be no stone unturned in tracing the roots and the perpetrators of this conspiracy, the approach towards Pakistan has to be more subtle. In any case, immediately laying the blame on the doors of Pakistan and Bangladesh—as Chief Minister Reddy did—may be politically expedient, but only gives them a chance to play victim.