Mumbai-like attack can trigger India-Pakistan war: Blackwill

May 5th, 2009 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) Describing the growing Talibanisation of Pakistan “as the most dangerous international situation since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis”, former US ambassador to India Robert D. Blackwill Tuesday said that another Mumbai-like attack could trigger a war between India and Pakistan.
“It is India that is continually attacked by terrorists based in Pakistan with the support of elements of the Pakistan military and today infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC) is increasing,” Blackwill said in a lecture here titled “The future of India-US relations”, organised by Aspen Institute India and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“It is India that Pakistan claims is illegally occupying Kashmir. And it is only India that could again find itself at war with Pakistan, triggered by another Mumbai-like attack,” the former envoy said while alluding to Pakistan’s obsession with India.

“So India is profoundly connected to the future of Pakistan, not on the periphery of it,” underlined Blackwill, who is currently associated with the influential global think tank RAND Corporation.

Describing Pakistan as “the most serious issue between the US and India,” Blackwill argued that “it would be a mistake for Washington to treat India as mostly at the margin of US consideration of policy toward Pakistan, as a lesser player on issues related to the future of Pakistan.”

Blackwill also advocated “intimate, intensive and utterly private US-India talks” on how to deal with “a turbulent and increasingly chaotic Pakistan in the period ahead, including examining the policy implications of various specific scenarios regarding deteriorating events in Pakistan”.

“What seemed (the) worst case a year ago in Pakistan may be on our mutual doorstep in the months ahead. I recognise that this is an exceptionally sensitive suggestion but it is absolutely necessary for a host of reasons, not least because it would be the United States and India that would be most affected by a Talibanisation of Pakistan,” he said.

Blackwill also alerted India about the possibility of facing pressure from the Obama administration over quickening the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

The former envoy also pointed out that the US’ preoccupation with Pakistan could lead to “re-hyphenating the US-India relationship, leading the administration to see India largely through the lens of deeply disturbing developments in Pakistan, at the expense of a focus on strategic cooperation writ large between Washington and New Delhi”.

“This will produce an understandable and growing US interest in trying to reduce tensions in the India-Pakistan relationship, not least because Islamabad will speciously argue that tensions with India and the Kashmir dispute are preventing it from moving robustly against the Islamic terrorists within their midst.

“So India may well encounter eventual US pressure on the subject of Kashmir,” Blackwill said.

The George W. Bush administration was widely seen as having accomplished the de-hypehenation of the US’ relations with India from its ties with Pakistan by offering New Delhi a landmark civilian nuclear deal, which was seen as an acknowledgement of its growing power status.

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