Only the Sikh terrorists, Al Qaeda and the International Islamic Front, of which Al Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad are amongst the members, have the capability for organising the kind of three well co-ordinated blasts which struck Delhi on the evening of October 29, 2005, reportedly killing over 50 people.
The strongest suspicion will be on Al Qaeda and the IIF because the blasts took place one day after Al Quds and two days before Diwali, an important Hindu festival. Al Quds is observed by Muslims all over the world on the last Friday of the Ramadan fasting period to condemn the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem where the holy mosque of Al Quds is located. It is considered the third holiest mosque for Muslims after the two in Saudi Arabia.
Often, jihadi terrorists plan their terrorist strikes to coincide with Al Quds. The Mumbai explosions of March 12, 1993 were planned to be carried out on Al Quds, but the perpetrators advanced it by a week following the arrest of one of their supporters by the Mumbai police as they were afraid that during interrogation he may reveal their plans.
The blasts of October 29 have come in the wake of the propaganda against India stepped up by Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the IIF in the wake of the prime minister's recent visit to the United States in July.
One has to await further details on questions such as was it a suicide blast, was it a car bomb etc before attempting a meaningful analysis.
However, one has to seriously take into account the possibility that Al Qaeda and/or the IIF have now targeted India because of its open alignment, as seen by them, with the US on matters affecting the vital intetests of the Islamic Ummah.
'The Iran nuclear issue poses a serious policy dilemma for India: How to cooperate with the international community (read US) in preventing the emergence of another military nuclear power with security implications for India while not allowing our traditional good relations with Iran to be jeopardised? How to avoid misperceptions, particularly in the Islamic world, that India which, in the past, accused the US and other Western ountries of adopting double standards in nuclear matters, has now started adopting similar double-standards? How to avoid providing a pretext to Al Qaeda, which has so far kept away from India, for targeting India because of misperceptions that India has become anti-Islam and the Asian poodle of the US?'
Till 2003, Indian Muslims had by and large kept away from the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and other Pakistani members of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front, but recent reports show that the Lashkar is making a breakthrough in the recruitment of Indian Muslims.
The US is far away from the Islamic world, but India is right in the middle of it. Forty-five per cent of the world's Muslims live in the Indian sub-continent. India has to be more cautious in its policies towards the Islamic world than the US.