Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mumbai attacks and Indian reaction

If the Government of India were to take a leaf out of the George W Bush School of Politics, then there is one very clear path to victory in the next elections - cross-border air strikes on terrorist camps in Pakistan! Back in 2004, facing elections, President Bush had used the "sexed up" documents on Iraq possessing Weapons of Mass Destruction to invade Iraqi airspace and divert the attention of the electorate to his advantage.

PM Manmohan Singh faces the same situation - a fear of terror has gripped the nation, Pakistan is the easily identified culprit, inflation and the economy has driven the Government to a corner, elections are impending, and a hardline opposition is upping the ante on a government perceived as being soft on national security (Something Mr Bush did not have to contend with)! It is a tribute to the Indian Government's maturity and responsibility that it has so far not gone on the trigger happy path followed by the Bush administration, even in the face of gravest provocation and immediacy. I am also a bit surprised by the maturity of the debate (the over-the-top politician bashing apart), characterized by the refusal of the popular media, opinion makers and the Opposition to play to the galleries and force public opinion on the issue.

Agreed that the consequences of such adventurism can be catastrophic, but one has never associated desperate Governments facing elections to pay heed to such dangers.

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