War with Pakistan not an option after Mumbai attacks states India’s Minister


New Dehli, India- India’s External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee told the Indian Parliament on Wednesday that war with Pakistan was not an option following the Mumbai attacks of November 26, 2008. He spoke to members of Parliament and the opposition parties and stated that diplomacy had succeeded and not failed as members of the opposition had claimed as it forced Pakistan to admit that its soil was used for the planning and carrying out of the attacks.

“We did not mobilize a single soldier, we did not press the panic button, we did not lay mines on the border, but we said we expected Pakistan to fulfill its commitments, ” he said. He stated that he believed that war with Pakistan following the Mumbai attacks was not an option as the government of India did not believe that it would solve the problem of terrorism.

Mr Mukherjee accepted that it did take Pakistan a substantial amount of time to admit that its soil was used in the attacks but that the Indian leadership understood the complexities of the situation inside Pakistan. He stated that the Indian government will keep up the pressure on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice and the terrorist infrastructure inside Pakistan dismantled to prevent any future attacks.

We at Pakistanis for Peace believe that diplomacy between the two nations is the only solution to the tense relations between India and Pakistan and war between the two nuclear armed neighbors will never be a solution that the people of South Asia could accept. It is a welcome sign to see that the Indian government did not consider war with Pakistan as an option. The situation inside Pakistan is very volatile and the weakness of the Pakistani government in fighting various militant groups was further underscored this week by the capitulation of the Pakistan army to agree to allow the Taliban in the Swat Valley in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to allow Sharia law. Within Pakistan there are not only Taliban militants operating freely in various areas of the country namely in the NWFP province, but also there are insurgent groups in Baluchistan ( Baluchistan Liberation Army in Quetta and surrounding cities), Sindh province (Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkat-ul- Mujahideen terror groups building bases in Karachi) and the Lahore based Lashkar-e-Taiba group that is blamed for the Mumbai attacks.

With this many various terror groups and militants that the Pakistani army is fighting on several fronts, it is remarkable that there have not been more attacks on the Indian side of the border. We believe that the war in Afghanistan and the presence of American forces in the region has diverted most of these terror groups and militants to the western border to fight their misguided form of jihad. Unfortunately groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen have turned most of their focus to fighting the Indians in Kashmir and driving them out of the troubled area as their primary objective.

Pakistan must ask itself that if there was violence perpetrated by Indian groups like the Mumbai attacks inside Pakistan, how would Pakistan respond to such terror inside its territory by militant Indian groups? It is not unconceivable that not only militant Muslim groups would call for a war with India, but even the common citizen would be up in arms and pressure the government of Pakistan to respond with mobilizing the army. The government of Pakistan must realize that war with India is not imminent, however a worsening of the situation within Pakistan due to the various terror groups operating inside its territory are a much bigger threat to the country’s stability and sovereignty than its hostilities with its neighbor India. Compromising with the terrorists as the government recently did in the Swat valley sends a double signal and gives the other terror groups operating in the country an indication that enough violence and carnage by these groups will allow them to have their way with the Pakistani government. This is a bad situation that is getting worse by the day and we at Pakistanis for Peace hope and pray that the situation turns around before events unfold that will set off a chain reaction that will be impossible to stop. By all accounts, most experts agree that Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world with its mix of terror groups and nuclear weapons, we must all do what  we can to ensure it does not ignite a regional war with India fueled by militant groups and backed by nuclear weapons that will be a concern for the whole world and not just the long suffering citizens of Pakistan.


Manzer Munir reporting from Orlando, FL for www.PakistanisforPeace.com

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