Rule of thumb in fighting terrorist attacks: if the Israelis offer advice, take it.
Israeli spokesmen say that in Mumbai, Indian troops stormed the hotels too soon, without gathering enough intelligence first. There is no country on earth with the expertise of the Israelis in this regard, and it’s surprising that (if the article is correct) India may have refused Israel’s assistance when it was initially offered in dealing with the Mumbai attacks.
This is not just because the Israelis wrote the book on this sort of thing. It’s also because India and Israel are countries that have more in common than their initial letter “I.” Although exceedingly different in size and population, they share a fact of history: both were partitioned and separated from their predominantly Muslim segments around the same time (late 1940s), when each ceased being part of the British Empire. In both cases bloodshed followed, and continues to this very day.
But that special history is not all they share. The two countries are increasingly cooperative economically and defensively as well. India is also the most prosperous country in its area, the one most closely allied with the West. And that’s even more true of Israel than it is of India. Islamic terrorists want both of them to pay the price, in blood.
And that’s not all. Both Judaism and Hinduism are the oldest of the world’s major religions still being practiced today. They are not only similar in their antiquity, but are also especially tolerant of the existence of other religions (see this about Judaism). Both have become targets of later, less tolerant religions—in recent years, Islam.
The news today is that the terrorist seige has ended in Mumbai. We can all be grateful for that, most especially the people of Mumbai and of India as a whole. But, as in Israel, it is clear that this is just a momentary lull in a storm that will be disrupting the country for a very long time.