Stephen Cohen joined PBS’s NewsHour to discuss the terrorist attacks on Mumbai. Cohen offered clues into who may be behind the attacks, what the reaction from the Indian government could be, and he noted possible effects for the broader region.
JUDY WOODRUFF, host: It was reported earlier today, Stephen Cohen, that — to the terrorist incidents that have happened over the last several years in general, the government of India has tried to play down what has happened. What does the magnitude of this say about how the government needs to react going forward?
STEPHEN COHEN: Well, they’re very concerned about this. The chief national security advisor in India is a specialist in terrorists, and there’s no question that they’re deeply concerned, but they don’t want to create Muslim-Hindu riots in India themselves. And they also don’t want to strain the relationship with Pakistan.
On the other hand, the Indian army and the Indian military have a strategy to attack Pakistan in case of an episode like this. And I think one of the purposes of this may have been to trigger off, at least to exacerbate India-Pakistan relations, for instance, get the Indians so angry that they actually attack Pakistan, because these groups are also opposed to a liberal, centrist government in Pakistan.
[On the shooting of two Indian computer engineers at a Kansas bar allegedly by a 51-year-old US navy veteran] “I don’t think it’s going to be business as usual, at least not for the next couple of years...We’ll certainly have to negotiate a lot of things in a very delicate manner.”