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Survey: Indians Divided but Negative on Pakistan Relations

With Indian intelligence blaming Pakistani intelligence for direct involvement with anti-Indian terrorist groups - the most prominent being Lashkir-e-Toiba (a.k.a. Dawa) - and the international consensus being that Pakistan at least tolerates them, it is perhaps not surprising that Indians are not feeling charitable toward Pakistan. According to a recent survey, they favor a fairly hardline approach to the issue, but are divided over precise tactics. These were two questions with responses:

Is Pakistan the real force behind terrorist activities in India?
Agree - 54%
Disagree - 10%
Can't Say - 36%

Since the survey also shows that while 33% of Indian Muslims disagreed with blaming Pakistan, and only 6% of Hindus did so, there is a clear underlying religious divide. About an equal number were unsure.

What should the government do about Pakistan's involvement in terrorist activities?
Attack terrorist bases - 40%
Negotiations - 31%
Pressure tactics - 19%
Can't say - 10%

The original source makes clear that this last question was asked only to those who responded that they thought that Pakistan was involved directly, so only about 25% of Indians favor war with Pakistan, which is what "Attack terrorist bases" would mean.

So overall, while about a third of Indians are unsure about what to think or do about the situation, the vast majority of the rest blame the Pakistani government, although they themselves seem divided on how exactly the situation should be handled. The tilt, however, favors a hardline in America's most important south Asian democratic ally against America's most important south Asian Muslim ally. This, not Palestine, involves the greatest danger to American interests from a foreign conflict.

Notes

6 Comments

Pakistan is a victim of terrorism itself. Indian should realized that it is a global menace. But at the same time India and the people of India should realize that neither Pakistan is Lebanon nor India is Israel. So, if India wages war with Pakistan. Pakistan has all the rights and power to defend itself and only time will tell. India instead of being a bad big brother to pakistan should work with pakistan to resolve kashmir issue.

PR,

You are right that Pakistan is a terrorism target, but wittingly or unwittingly it has become the primary global base for terrorism. Pakistan fights al-Qaeda but largely leaves the Taliban alone, and they use west Pakistan as a base for attacking India.

As for India, I myself don't know to what extent the ISI (Pakistani intelligence) may be implicated with the LET, but at a minimum Pakistan is tolerating anti-Indian terrorist groups.

Regarding Kashmir, it seems to me that India's democratic system provides the solution - Kashmiris have the right to vote in Indian elections, don't they? If every ethnic or religious faction in the world had the right to break away and form its own state, then most countries these days - including the United States - would be engulfed in an ethnic/sectarian civil war. My argument would be that pluralistic democracy is the solution. What is the alternative?

I always try to be as peaceful as possible, but this has gone too far. We need to get rid of Pakistan, which is the breeding ground of many of our terrorist enemies. Shucks, it's just not good that it can continue to be a thorn in the side of humanity. At least weaken its infrastructure and stop other countries (e.g. U.S.) from giving it weapons that they might use to destroy our great nation. Jai Hind.

The tilt, however, favors a hardline in America’s most important south Asian democratic ally against America’s most important south Asian Muslim ally. This, not Palestine, involves the greatest danger to American interests from a foreign conflict.
You must be specific about what this means. If you mean the risk is from India attacking Pakistani terrorist bases then you are mistaking the effect for the cause.

The greatest danger to international security comes from Pakistan's support for international jihadi terrorism. It had a hand in 9/11 (who wired money to Mohammed Atta?), it had a hand in Madrid, and London, to Sydney etc. And of course it had a hand in anti-India terrorism.

This is the real threat. It beats what the Hamas or Hizbollah have ever done to the world in general and to the west in particular.

Nitin,

By "this" I mean the conflict between India and Pakistan, but I do blame Pakistan, even though I'm not sure I agree with your allegations as put in your second paragraph.

If by "Pakistan" we mean the country and not necessarily the government, then your general point is certainly valid. Pakistani territory serves as the basis for jihad on three fronts - Afghanistan, Europe and India. But I do think that to a degree this is in spite not because of the government. The Pakistani military has captured or killed a large number of al-Qaeda's members, although they appear to have given up on fighting the Taliban.

That said, I realize that India alleges that the government does more than tolerate terrorism, and that it actually sponsors the LeT and others. Frankly, I am a Middle East specialist, and haven't read through the literature on Pakistani terror groups in great depth. If there are any think tank-type articles documenting Pakistani govt support for terrorist groups - especially LeT - feel free to post the links in a comment and we will try to take a look at them. At a minimum, they would be available to our readers who read the comments.

Kirk,

Mahmood Ahmed was a key figure involved in the 1999 coup that put Musharraf in power. He was also the chap, who in 2001, wired money to Omar Saeed Shiekh, who then wired it to Mohammed Atta. Guess why Omar Saeed Shiekh is in a Pakistani prison, while all those foot soldiers are in Gitmo? Why did Daniel Pearl die?

As for Pakistani funding of terrorist groups, the allegation is not merely made by the Indian government. See this article which appeared in the Pakistan's main monthly magazine, The Herald, this month.