TERRORISM INDIA: Bomb blast in restaurant kills 9, wounds 40

A REMINDER FROM (Muslim?) TERRORISTS: “We don’t want India-Pakistan talks.”

New Delhi: Investigators will doubtless establish the identity of those behind Saturday evening’s bomb blast in Pune but the timing of the first major act of terrorism since 26/11 strongly indicates a likely motive: to ensure the forthcoming dialogue between India and Pakistan is sabotaged even before it has a chance to get off the ground. The coincidence is striking, the bomb attack coming just a day after the two governments announced their foreign secretaries would meet in New Delhi on February 25.

The targeting of a café frequented by foreigners and the proximity of the blast site to Pune’s Chabad House for Jews suggest the terrorists who are behind the latest attack want to remind ordinary Indians of the November 2008 strike on Mumbai. They want to remind India that neither their ability nor their determination to kill innocent civilians has been diminished by the security measures the country has taken.

The ‘syndicate of terror’ whose footprints appear evident from both the choice of timing and target would like nothing better than a continuation of the diplomatic stalemate. The aim of the 26/11 attack was to provoke a military confrontation between India and Pakistan. That didn’t work because the Manmohan Singh government understood what the jihadi groups and their backers were trying to accomplish. What followed, then, was a year of ‘no war, no peace’ but with India offering talks late last month, the terrorist groups felt the initiative slipping out of their hand once again. THE HINDU