The clamour grows louder and louder. Something has to be done. Everyone has their action plan ready. Except the people who know what has to be done, and can do it, keep their silence. In this country of more opinions than people I am not sure if that is such a bad thing. For now the actions have been limited to sacking an inept minister and cancelling of an unlikely cricket tour to Pakistan.

The only thing to my mind that can be done and should have been done already, is the tightening of the country’s defences. It may not sound as thrilling as hot pursuit or an aerial assault but is probably the most important thing if the government wants to prevent this from happening again. But justice needs to be seen to be done. Unfortunately, only one terrorist was caught alive so hanging him only won’t do the trick. So what can the government do apart from strengthening its defences ?

Call off peace talks with Pakistan.That is the easiest thing to do and will probably cause the most damage. Zardari needs India as much as India needs him. If he can’t find support from India, he’ll go looking towards China and Saudi Arabia.

Have a skirmish with Pakistan. What will that achieve ? Even more capital and business flies out of India, the economy goes back 10 years, few thousand people die, millions become unemployed and if we are lucky we get some territory. The people who trained and sent these terrorists would still be around.

Diplomacy to get Pakistan to hand over terrorists (Dawood and ilk ) to India. That will need pressure from countries other than India on Pakistan. These other countries have their handful with the two wars and the economic crisis. Will the democratically elected government want to be seen handing over their people to India. The mere fact that Zardari promised to send the spy chief for a meeting caused a controversy , what will handing over people to India do.

So in all probability we will have some sabre rattling like in the aftermath of Parliament attacks and then everyone goes back to business. And then a US politician will write in his book 5 years from now on how he managed to bring two nuclear armed neighbours back from the brink. Just another example of how he managed to save the world. But I digress.

The joker in the usual pack of cards is P Chidambaram. The new home minister. The only person in the cabinet that Mumbai trusts ! His 1997 budget was the so called ‘dream budget’. Everyone thought they got something but no one really got anything. Having said that I am quite a fan of his and I am very happy that he has continued to be in politics. Can he produce a home ministry version of the 1997 budget. Elections are next year and God knows the country and his party can do with a trick or two.

Can he be our dark knight ?

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