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The terrorist attack on Mumbai has become one of the largest
The terrorist attack on Mumbai has become one of the largest in recent years. It was perpetrated by militants from the Lashkar-i Taiba grouping (Army of the Righteous), operating in Jammu and Kashmir, long a disputable territory between India and Pakistan.

Who could have ordered and initiated such an act? What will be its effects? And who were its perpetrators? Let's begin with the last question.

Lashkar-i Taiba is a paramilitary wing of the Pakistani fundamentalist organization Markaz Dawa-Wal-Irshad. It was set up in 1980, but until 1993 operated mainly outside India. In the late 1990s, according to analysts, Lashkar-i Taiba was the most influential Sunni paramilitary organization. At the turn of the century, the group carried out a series of terrorist attacks in India; and following September 11, 2001 stories circulated that it was privy to that super-attack.

By turning to the aftermath, we can see that Pakistan, which is the "prime suspect," needs involvement least of all. The country is embroiled in a domestic conflict closely connected with the U.S. and allied operation in Afghanistan. In these conditions, to risk a very probable military conflict with India by backing such an attack would be suicidal for any Pakistani forces. So Pakistan's move in sending its head of intelligence to India to exchange information was absolutely logical.

Meanwhile, Indian media are launching a new anti-Pakistani campaign. Journalists are angry with the government's "soft attitude" and inability to show "due reaction."

But what is due reaction in the absence of reliable information? India, though stronger than its potential opponent, does not need a conflict with Pakistan. Relations between the two countries are currently largely overshadowed by the existence of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles in both. Bearing this in mind, the two sides try to avoid sudden moves against each other.

Neither Pakistan nor India can benefit from mutual terrorist attacks, or an escalation of the conflict because of possible tragic results. The sides will most likely join forces to try to find those who led the terrorists from outside and trained them, as well as the masterminds.

Who could have planned this attack and could have gained from it? Firstly, one cannot rule out the maverick nature of the terrorist organization itself, which may be controlled by and report to no one. However, it is not impossible that some outside force seeking destabilization in the region and a possible escalation of the conflict between India and Pakistan is the paymaster and planner of the attack.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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