While, ultimately, it is India's sovereign responsibility to avenge the Bombay terror attack, the rest of the world should not merely pressurize Pakistan to act against its terrorist elements and partly terrorist establishment because of Indian pressure, or to avert an Indo-Pak conflict.

Conflicts are to be avoided, and India and Pakistan are not about to go to war, despite provocations from the Pakistani side. The rest of the world, but chiefly the US and China, should understand that the Bombay terror attack points to threats to them, in the case of the US, clearly and presently, and in respect of China, in a staggered manner.

The biggest mystery about the Bombay terror attack was the motive. Now, it is more or less convincingly explained. The Al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistan Taliban were feeling the heat of the US campaign in FATA. A diversion was needed. A diversion was produced. The partly or substantially Talibanized Pakistan army has always been leery of fighting those very forces in FATA which, once returned to power in Afghanistan, would have given it strategic depth against India. So the Talibanized Pakistan army and intelligence sections would have actively or passively contributed to the Bombay terrorist attack.

The role of the Lashkar-e-Toiba has come upfront. But it is impossible that the LeT launched the attack all on its own initiative and funds, and with some (deniable) Pakistan military-intelligence establishment involvement. The Al-Qaeda and the Afghan and Pakistan Talibans had to be involved. The LeT terrorists were not primarily targeting Indians, as they have in earlier bomb blasts, although, to be sure, the majority of terrorist victims were Indians. In their scheme, the attack on the Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminal (CST) was meant to draw attention away from their real targets, which were the top hotels of South Bombay and the Jew centre in Nariman House.

The slaughter at CST was meant to be just that: a slaughter. The terrorists were after the hotel guests, principally the foreigners, especially American and British passport-holders. This is the brief, fairly well-known background. Certainly, the Bombay terror attack is against India. But the US stands threatened as well, not merely in the sense of the murder of several Americans. The LeT cannot be seen in isolation any more, the LeT or its parent organization, the Jamaat-ul-Dawa (JuD). It is networked with the Al-Qaeda and the two Talibans. It is, therefore, in the US's interest to go after the LeT/ JuD, as it pursues the Al-Qaeda and the two Talibans.

Today, the wire services published a "memo" to US president-elect Barack Obama written by two American analysts Lisa Curtis and Walter Lohman. They wrote that Obama's idea during electioneering to provide direct US mediation between India and Pakistan over Kashmir could "backfire".

"Your recent assertion," wrote Curtis and Lohman, "that the US should try to help resolve the Kashmir issue so that Pakistan can focus on reigning in militancy on its Afghan border is misguided…Such a mediation could backfire by raising unrealistic expectations for a favourable settlement among Pakistanis, thereby fueling Islamabad's support for militants in hopes of pushing a hard-line agenda."

The LeT's agenda is to Balkanize India, which may or may not concern the US. But the mixing of the LeT and Al-Qaeda agendas should gravely concern the US, and Kashmir is nowhere central to this. Obama should understand that while India won't negotiate on Kashmir, the US's problem in Pakistan emanates from all the terrorist groups, including the LeT. India is one of the victims of the US action in FATA (however justifiable that action barring the civilian deaths), and there is no link between Kashmir and the Bombay terrorist attack. To link it is to live in a world of denial.

That applies to China as well, that today sentenced to death two Uighur terrorists for killing policemen on training in Kashgar in August this year. While China went along with the UN Security Council decision to ban the JuD, it had been resisting this earlier, on the simplistic reasoning, perhaps, that the "enemy" (terrorist) of my "enemy" (India) is my "friend". China is appeasing the Pakistan military with weapons and other assistance, but that has not ceased Uighur terrorist training in Pakistan. Very soon, the Pakistan military will be squeezing the Chinese, and playing the same double-game with them that it has played with the US in FATA.