Don’t let this sickness spread any further

THE incursions by Indian Air Force planes into Pakistani territory at the weekend were probably intended to serve as a threat. If so, they are an ominous sign. Any attack by Indian forces against presumed jihadi sites would, in all likelihood, trigger off a wider conflict. The jihadis would welcome that, but no one else should.
Condoleezza Rice, John Negroponte and Gordon Brown are among the personalities who have descended on these parts, advising India to exercise restraint and prodding Pakistan to take action.
India could be excused for discerning a measure of hypocrisy in such importunations, which tend to contradict the Bush doctrine, whereby no distinction is to be made between terrorists and the states that harbour them. But, at the same time, India should not aspire to become the regional equivalent of the United States. The situation in Afghanistan — not to mention Iraq — should suffice as a deterrent.
No one can accurately calculate the number of terrorists the US has spawned in the name of fighting terrorism. And it hasn’t changed tack in the run-up to regime change in Washington. It would be sheer folly on the part of New Delhi to seek to emulate American failures. Terrorism undoubtedly needs to be combated, but it must be done intelligently. War between India and Pakistan would be disastrous on many fronts.

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