Brussels-based think-tank International Crisis Group, in its recent report, has said that if Pakistan-based terror groups carry out another attack like that which killed large numbers of civilians in Mumbai in 2008, then it would be difficult for India to show restraint.
The report says that the two main anti-India groups – Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad – for whom Pakistan is a ‘safe haven’, also pose grave threat to the United States.
“Though neither has formal links to al-Qaeda, their fighters rub shoulders with other militants and global jihadists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The gravest danger they pose for Pakistan and the U.S. is another strike on India,” says the report.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response to attacks last year on Indian forces in Kashmir suggests his reaction would be calibrated carefully, and public opinion would weigh only so far on that calculation. But it would be difficult to show restraint in the event of an attack like that which killed large numbers of civilians in Mumbai in 2008,” it added.
The report holds significance as relations between India and Pakistan are at an all-time low, especially after the terror attack on Army camp in Uri in September. India, in a retaliatory action, had carried out surgical strikes at terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir neutralising several militants.
The report titled 'Counterterrorism Pitfalls: What the US Fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda Should Avoid' states that the main challenge for the US is to persuade Pakistan's military establishment to push the Taliban toward talks and rein in anti-India groups.
The report says Pakistan's jihadi problem is largely of its own making and is "deeply entrenched". "That Afghan Taliban leaders who talk to the US or Afghan government without Pakistani blessings are promptly jailed or disappear showing how the military can clamp down," it says.
It says "Only a strategic rethink of relations with India would lead it to dismantle the LeT's and Jaish's infrastructure".