Nov 1, 2006 4:31 pm


Reading the papers in India is very much like reading the papers in Israel. Whether Indians, or Israelis for that matter, chose to admit it or not, they are under constant attack. Indeed, Musharef is following in the footsteps of Yassir Arafat. He is talking and terrorizing and the Indians let him. Last week I met with the vice chancellor of Goa University. He told me that a group of Japanese students who were supposed to come to the university for a course on India, cancelled after the Mumbai bombing. I responded that it reminded me of Israel. He correctly pointed out the crucial difference in size. I noted the equally important distinction; terrorism in India hardly merits a comment in the world press. Last week, India was shaken by the revelation that two Pakistanis were arrested for planning attacks on Bangalore, the country's Silicon Valley. In Israel, 4 Palestinians and one Israeli Arab were arrested with explosives. Both countries had a narrow escape, one of many. This short paragraph is all the NYT editors thought the Indian item merited but in an editorial, the Times of India correctly assessed the meaning of the arrests:

If suspected Pakistani militants nabbed in Mysore had been planning to attack the Vikas Soudha a newly built government administration block that is part of the state secretariat in Bangalore that's more evidence that it's not just Kashmir, Mumbai or Delhi who need to worry about large-scale terror attacks.

The whole country is a target, and Bangalore as the symbol of India's new-found economic prowess is high on the list. The men were apprehended close to the Infosys campus in Mysore, and there are reports that IT majors like Infosys and Wipro may be on the list of terror targets.

The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has already been struck. It's not just the north but also the south that may be targeted, and it's not just government establishments but private sector corporations and scientific establishments that find themselves on the hit list.

Yesterday, the local paper described the special security precautions which will be taken during the upcoming Goa International Film Festival. We must walk through metal detectors and have my purse to enter the Marriot hotel which is a five minute walk from our flat. A young military officer stands guard at the entrance of the local Coffee Day. Goa is well known for its laid back and tolerant culture, tiny Muslim population and no history of terrorism. But it would be silly to ignore the threat.

India, like Israel, is determined not to let terror win by distracting her from the more important job of participating in the new global culture which is trying to blossom despite it all. Just is case, 200 miles off the coast of Goa, the Indian navy is engaging in joint exercises with the American, Canadian navies. There is no denying of the increased dovetailing of Indian - American, and, yes, Israeli (the Indian navy will sport the effective Barak missiles) interests. Hope for the best, but be prepared must be the motto of us all.

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