“Nobody wants war.” That was the message of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh just a day after his foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee threatened to take “all measures necessary” in response to last month’s Mumbai terrorist attack and Pakistan put its own air force on high alert.
Singh seems to be eager to reduce tensions as US Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen and Ronald Noble, the head of Interpol, paid visits to Pakistan. As India presses Pakistan to act against those responsible for Mumbai, Noble pointed out that India has not provided the evidence needed to identity and apprehend those suspected of involvement.
But the Singh Administration’s dismissal of “war hysteria” is likely to be tempered somewhat by news that the Indian Defense Ministry is asking the United States to fast track its previous order of $375 million worth of cluster bombs. And with India and Pakistan both deploying growing numbers of forces along their common border, tensions between the two are unlikely to be improved by blithe dismissals.