The terrorist attacks in Mumbai have led to heightened tensions in what was already a volatile region. Of particular concern is that the improving relationship between Pakistan and India has been brought to a halt with threats of military action coming from both sides.

Carnegie's Ashley J. Tellis briefed members of the European foreign policy community on avoiding a Pakistan-India war, the investigation into the attacks, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and the response of the international community.

Tellis began the briefing by explaining that with consensus reached that LeT was the perpetrator of the attacks, the aftermath of the crisis is now largely centered on diplomacy. There are three important relationships that must be considered: India-U.S.; Pakistan-U.S.; and India-Pakistan.
All of these relationships must be focused on preventing an India-Pakistan war. The international community will need to encourage India to abstain from a military reaction and put pressure on Pakistan to carry out a detailed investigation into the attacks. If the investigation proves fruitful, only then should a summit be called between Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, and Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistani. To hold it earlier would only lead to further acrimony.
Other Highlights
  • Tellis questioned the capacity of the Pakistani civilian government to conduct a thorough investigation into the attacks, explaining that the civilian government is relatively weak vis-à-vis the military and the intelligence agencies.
  • India will need to review its law and order structures. At present, law and order is left almost entirely in the hands of the states, leading to ineffective counterterrorism strategies. It will also need to implement a better strategy for dealing with hostage situations through the creation of small tactical units.
  • The LeT’s activities are not limited to the Indian subcontinent, and their vision is extensive. They have operations in the UK, Spain, Australia and the U.S., for instance. European intelligence agencies will need to closely watch LeT fundraising, sleeper cells, and recruitment activities.