Mumbai horror exposed gaps in India’s economic takeoff: expert


New York : The terror attacks on India’s financial capital Mumbai revealed several chinks in the country’s emergence as an economic superpower, a French scholar has said.

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“The attacks exposed the weakness of the so-called Indian economic takeoff,” Gilles Kepel, an analyst of the Islamic and Arab societies, said in an interview to Forbes.Com.

“The aim of the attack was mainly political, but the economic dimension is still visible,” he added.

Kepel said India, Brazil, Russia and China may have double digit growth but most of the population lives in poverty.

“In India you have 150-200 million people who live by European standards and one billion who live in sheer poverty. Not to say that Muslims are necessarily poor, just as there are poor Hindus also, but this exposes a number of faultlines behind the Indian miracle,” he said.

Supporting the viewpoint of India and the US, Kepel said the Nov 26 Mumbai attacks were carried out by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and reflected the group’s usual modus operandi.

“They do not do suicide bombings because they feel that if they press the button on the suicide belt, they commit a grave sin against Allah’s will. For them, Allah is the one who decides when he should take back the life that he has given. In committing suicide, even if it’s for the sake of jehad, a Muslim goes to hell,” he said.

Kepel’s latest book, “Beyond Terror and Martyrdom”, examines the future of relations between Islam and the West.

The author said one of the main objectives of the Mumbai attacks was to create tension between India and Pakistan so as to deflate the pressure on the militants on the Afghan-Pakistan border, where a massive operation is going on against them right now.

“By ratcheting up the tension and bringing India into the battlefield, the attackers aimed to turn Pakistan away from the Taliban and focus on tension with India. This would then alleviate pressure on the militants,” he said.