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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why Attack Bombay? What's next?

According to a thought-provoking Indian writer, the attack on Mumbai/Bombay had a message - stay away. To conservative religious types, Mumbai represents 'sin city' in a conservative part of the world.

But the problem is bigger than that - religious hate is spreading beyond "the usual suspects." In 1993, it was Hindus who were killing anyone in Bombay who was a Muslim. This Thanksgiving '08 attack was the first-ever against Jews in India.

It appears that the fishing trawler hijacked by the terrorists who swept over Mumbai was taken in Karachi, Pakistan. I have been to Karachi, a hot-humid seaport on Pakistan's southern coast.

So, another nuclear India/nuclear Pakistan conflict may be heading our way.

The solution will take a coordinated effort to tamp down the intolerance and hate between religious extremists in each group, including resolving the Kashmir issue along with the other unresolved conflicts such as the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. Unresolved border issues between both Pakistan and India and Pakistan and Afghanistan would help lower the temperature between two nuclear powers.

India is a growing power along with China. Both will play critical roles in America's future. Much is at risk and much needs to be done.

The 'sin' was not Mumbai's. It was the intolerant minds that attacked it.

Latest news: the Chairman of the Tata Group who owns the Taj Mahal ownership says that they had been warned about the possible attack. Yet there was no increased security or preparations by the hotel. Guests were not informed of the attack even after it started. Guests were also hit by flying glass - something that also needs to be addressed by hotels and office buildings everywhere.

The Indian government has responsibility too. The fact that it took the Indian army and commandos several days to stop ten people will have to be investigated as well.

The bottom line will be reducing the religious extremism spreading across the globe. It only makes the world more dangerous for all of us.

The President-Elect will need to focus on this. The solutions are EDUCATION and JOBS. Taliban who threw acid on girls walking to school were paid to do it - they need to be educated to treat women equally. But to make it work we also need to create jobs so they have something for a future other than crime or terrorist hit-jobs. Until we make roads, schools and job-creation as much a part of our policy as a military presence, we won't succeed.

Afghanistan does not have roads or an infrastructure. It is the front line on the global 'War on Terror.'

We won't win unless and until we address the root problems --uneducated, isolated people with no jobs and no future.

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