To Seth Jones, an analyst at RAND, the failure to settle the Kashmir dispute is one of the root causes of the Mumbai attacks.
SETH JONES, RAND Corporation: The biggest issue hanging over the Mumbai attacks is the dispute between the Indians and Pakistanis over Jammu and Kashmir.
India accuses Pakistani-based leaders of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group, or LET, of masterminding the attacks and for providing training and logistical support to the 10 terrorists.
LET, or Army of the Pure, was formed by the Pakistan intelligence service and militants in the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. Vijay Prashad is chair of South Asian history at Trinity College.
He grew up in India and writes extensively about its politics.
VIJAY PRASHAD, Trinity College: When that war began to wind down, by the late 1980s and into the 1990s, it had of course produced a battle-hardened group of people who were not ready to give up the fight, and indeed believed that they had with their actions defeated the Soviet Union and should take their skills elsewhere.Today approximately, one-third of Kashmir is controlled by Pakistan, the rest largely by India.According to reports, in the midst of Mumbai melee in late November one of the terrorists called an Indian television station to complain that Kashmiris were treated badly by Indian soldiers.And especially after the war on terrorism which has angered Muslims across the board because they feel their religion is under siege and anyone who stands up to America or America’s friends like India is perhaps doing a service of Islam.But that’s not to say that Kashmir should not be solved.But going any further will be almost impossible now, says Ganguly, professor of Indian cultures and civilization at Indiana University, Bloomington.SUMIT GANGULY, Indiana University, Bloomington: There has been considerable progress on Kashmir in the last few years.Before the Mumbai attacks, relations between the two countries were improving.However, Touqir Hussain says the talks weren’t going anywhere because India was not forthcoming on Kashmir.Touqir Hussain, a former Pakistani diplomat, agrees there may be no direct connection between the Mumbai terrorists and the half-century-old Kashmir dispute.But resolving the Kashmir conflict will reduce the support that groups like LET have in Pakistan says Hussain, now an adjunct professor at George Washington University.