We are not prepared to countenance a situation in which the safety and security of our citizens can be violated with impunity by terrorists. It is evident that the group which carried out these attacks, based outside the country, had come with single-minded determination to create havoc in the commercial capital of the country.
Really? It's already evident that the group was based outside the country? To be perfectly clear, I don't know whether the attacks originated from an arm of the Pakistan state (the ISI, for example) - though I consider the probability of our involvement to be anywhere between fairly unlikely to highly unlikely. What I do know is that the Indian government doesn't know, and yet pretends to know. This is Arif's point when he says:
Incompetence has also plagued India. After failing to prevent this sophisticated attack and bungling the subsequent operations, New Delhi
has magically found out the origin of the terrorists’ vessel and even their hometown!
In blaming Pakistan, Indian officials are masking their own incompetence. India’s security establishment has, much like Pakistan’s, failed to protect its citizenry. States are reluctant to acknowledge that non-state threats are purely that; it is humiliating.
He goes on to talk about the domestic imbalances between Hindus and Muslims in India, a point which is echoed by a RAND analyst quoted by the NYT:
Christine Fair, senior political scientist and a South Asia expert at the RAND Corporation, was careful to say that the identity of the terrorists could not yet be known. But she pointed to India’s domestic problems, and long tensions between Hindus, who make up about 80 percent of India’s population of 1.13 billion, and Muslims, who make up 13.4 percent.“There are a lot of very, very angry Muslims in India,” Ms. Fair said. “The economic disparities are startling and India has been very slow to publicly embrace its rising Muslim problem. You cannot put lipstick on this pig. This is a major domestic political challenge for India."
Given that we cannot know at this early juncture which group exactly is responsible, it would make sense - in a perfect world, of course - to hold off on judgment and saber-rattling. As we know, however, we do not live in a perfect world. The fact of the matter is that with national elections coming up early next year, and Congress already viewed as soft on terrorism, there really is only one smart and obvious thing to do politically speaking: blame Pakistan and up the rhetorical ante. It is what any rational actor would do under the circumstances.