AT 9/11 terrorists struck at the world's leading democracy. At Mubai in India this week terrorists struck at the world's largest democracy. Is there a connection? If there is then it must be Al-Qaeda, and there are many features of the Mumbai attacks that bear the signature of that organisation - the co-ordination of the separate elements, the sophistication of the planning and organisation, and the single-minded efficiency of the killers. Few experts think that the unknown Deccan Mujahideen, which has claimed responsibility, is any more than a front. There are several other established and known terrorist groups in India and Pakistan which could have carried out this atrocity in addition to Al-Qaeda and most of them share common objectives whilst placing emphasis on particular concerns.
The expectation that Al-Qaeda was planning a spectacular atrocity to test Barack Obama's mettle does not seem indicative - Al-Qaeda would know perfectly well that any such challenge should not take place before January 20.
While understanding the desire of India's prime minister Manmohan Singh to attribute blame for the Mumbai disaster as quickly as possible it is regrettable that he spoke of perpetrators based outside the country, a reference that was widely assumed to refer to Pakistan. India has its own indigenous terrorists and a rush to judgement is unwise when tensions are so high. It is often forgotten that with 150 million Muslims, India is home to one of Islam's largest populations.
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