India: Newest front in the global war on terror


Issue: "As the West burns," Sept. 6, 2003

Bus bombings in Israel grab most of the headlines, but a series of explosions in Bombay has the Indian subcontinent on edge, as well. The latest attacks came on Aug. 25, when two separate bombs killed at least 46 people in India's financial capital; more than 150 were injured. No one claimed responsibility immediately, but there are plenty of suspects and plenty of motives in a troubled region.

Pakistan: A December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi was blamed on Pakistani militants and led to a tense nuclear standoff between the two regional powers. Though Pakistan condemned the most recent bombings as "acts of terror," many Indians remain wary of their Muslim neighbor to the north.

Kashmir state: India's only majority-Muslim state has long been a breeding ground for terrorists, and Kashmiri separatists are automatically suspected in any terror attacks in the Indian heartland.

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Gujarat state: In 2002, a series of bloody riots in this religiously diverse region left more than 1,000 victims, most of them Muslim. Indian officials have long feared a Muslim backlash, and the Bombay attacks may be a form of payback.

Bombay: Monday's bombing was just the latest-and deadliest-in a series of attacks. A bus bomb in December killed three; a dozen more were killed in the March bombing of a commuter train; and another bus bomb in July claimed two lives.


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