India-Pakistan: Today, on the eve of the first talks between foreign ministers since 2008, the Indian Home Affairs Ministry announced that India has obtained evidence that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate played a more significant role in the planning and execution of the November 2008 Mumbai attack than had previously been thought, according to Indian Home Secretary G. K. Pillai, Indian Express reported 14 July.
Pillai said information gathered from interrogations of David Headley, a U.S. citizen accused of helping plan the attack, indicated the ISI had planned the attack with Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Hafiz Saeed “from beginning to end.” He added that the ISI was not a peripheral player, but was controlling and coordinating the attack, and that Saeed also knew everything about the attack.
NIGHTWATCH Comment: The Indians have sprung a trap on the Pakistanis. It will be noteworthy if the talks are held at all. Every Indian acceptance of talks with Pakistan since November 2008 has been predicated on a discussion of terrorism first, specifically anti-Indian terrorism from Pakistan. Pakistan has argued for broader talks. Today, India narrowed the focus once again, while seeming to accept the Pakistani terms for more general discussions.
The Indian trap appears to be New Delhi’s response to last week’s Pakistani ministry of foreign affairs statement denouncing Indian “occupation” of Kashmir. The talks will go nowhere unless Pakistan agrees to deal effectively with ISI support to Pakistan-based terrorists, which is now almost beyond dispute. For India, Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism.
Phi Beta Iota: The incapacity of both NSA and CIA merit emphasis. For decades the Pakistanis have assured the USG and CIA participarly that the “radical” wing of the ISI was a “loose cannon” when it was in fact the centerpiece of Pakistani policy toward both India and the US. They did this to keep the billion a year going, from which they skimmed half to two thirds. CIA and NSA either did not get this, or blessed it, just as they either did not get or blessed the deliberate terrorist attack in Mumbai planned, funded, and executed by the Pakistani government.