There’s no reason yet to believe the latest Mumbai terror attacks bear the same signature as the 2008 massacre that left 164 people dead. Wednesday’s multiple explosions appear from early reports to have involved small-scale and relatively crude bombs, even though they appear to have inflicted substantial casualties. That might point to some local perpetrator, although terror attacks in India almost inevitably raise suspicions of involvement by a Pakistani hand. And, of course, in the case of the Mumbai Massacre, the perpetrators turned out to have been the Pakistani outfit Lashkar e-Taiba (LeT), which was believed by U.S. intelligence to have longstanding links with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
There’s no evidence thus far pointing the finger at any Pakistan-based group — and any such suspicions, as raised by India’s Home Ministry in the wake of the bombings, may well prove unfounded. But the political impact of such a strike, were Pakistan to become the focus of suspicion, would play dangerously into the increasingly precarious U.S.-Pakistan relationship.