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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Blaming Pakistan. India had better keep calm.

The talk of the town in Asia and intelligence circles world wide is that Pakistan, is at the root of the terror attack in Mumbai that left over 150 people dead. While it may be true that Pakistani groups are, admittedly, responsible for the attacks. However, the overwhelming media reports are implicating the entire Pakistani people and not making it clear that these groups are rouge elements within Pakistan. Who, by all intents and purposes, are wanted by current President Zadari and have been outlawed by former military strong man and former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf.

Indian officials have been leading the PR charge on Pakistan. Many Indians are very upset and angry at Pakistan, for allowing these militant groups, the Lashkar-e-Taiba along with Jaish-e-Mohammad, to be energized and re-energized by not dousing their energy and going after them with vigor. While they are right that they do need Pakistani official governmental help in routing these killers. India, also, has India to blame by not securing the Indian people, from an obvious threat on and within their borders.

Now, here is what we have; intelligence reports have it now that these militant groups, are being supported by elements within the Pakistani military. I have a little trouble with believing the importance of that linkage. For one, Musharraf, a former general of Pakistan and held the country by martial rule for an extended period of time, abhorred the Islamic militants. He was very instrumental to any success the US had in Northern Afghanistan and the tribal areas, as it is. The military supported Musharraf. So, how can it be now, that such deep linkages with the terror group's who orchestrated these attacks, can be attributed to such deep Pakistani military involvement? Yes, they may have been military men involved with the attacks--I would not have assumed otherwise. Yes, they may have friends in the military and as their own countrymen, have friends all over Pakistan as well as sympathizers for their cause--not sympathy for the method--but sympathy for the cause. These issues do not compute, however, to an entire Pakistani country wide plan and plot to kill India. I just do not see that. And, if there was, then, we would have had and will be having an all scale war between Pakistan and India--again!

Just over the weekend, former presidential nominee Sen John McCain, led a team of senate leaders, including the one Sen Joe Lieberman, to Pakistan to "talk" about the issues in relation to the recent attack--and I would guess, a host of other issues. Outgoing Sec of State Rice, made a trip the week before. The double duty on diplomacy is really insulting, but, such is the high life.

As we all know, there is very little the troop of senators can do aside from talk about the issues, or, be messenger boys for the president--who is still G.W. Bush at this time. Or, perhaps, after the meeting McCain had with the president elect Obama, they may have been on an errand for him. We will certainly need the transcripts from the press conference, to see if the rhetoric of president elect Obama on the issue, adds up to what was stated and discussed by the senate leadership at the meeting with president Zadari.

Side note: I think, while the attack on Mumbai was on the table for discussion, I think McCain would have more than likely talked to Zadari on the impending attack on Pakistan--more particularly the Afghan/Pakistan border, where president elect Obama feels Usama Bin-Laden is hiding. More on this as I monitor this as the days progress.

What does this mean for Asian markets? Adds fuel to the dismal flame that are torching Asian stocks. The market has not regained prominence since the sub prime crisis started to unfold and more than likely, this attack on Indian and an major Asian financial centre, does very little to help. Exports have been down, but have been going down before the attacks. India, as well as China and Japan, depend heavily on EU and American consumers buying their goods.

As for the financial markets, security is the top concern for companies looking to do business in and from India. No strong word yet on a mass exodus of companies. However, we will have to wait and see.

All in all, we have a messy, but, very manageable diplomatic and political issue in India and Asia, with Pakistan in the hot seat.
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