If the target of the terrorists in Mumbai was to derail the peace process between Pakistan and India then their mission is on its way to succeeding. The post-November 26 media war, initiated by India, coupled with the imminent elections in that country has escalated tensions between the two nations to a dangerous level. It is clear that both Pakistan and India cannot afford a military confrontation, yet Indian muscle flexing verging on ultimatums continue with total disregard to the nuclear capabilities of both nations. Sonia Gandhi, with her "befitting response" rhetoric, was the latest to jump on the bandwagon. Bollywood style dramatisation of the Mumbai attacks by the Indian media (especially electronic) has infused widespread radical and illogical rhetoric of revenge and war amongst the Indian people. Popular artists around the world are known for their philanthropic endeavours. One would expect the same in the subcontinent where if a peace movement was initiated by them the impact would be immense due to their mass appeal. Yet, they too have been drawn into this whirlwind of hate and mistrust. A recent example being Jagjit Singh, a highly respected Indian artist, asking Adnan Sami to return to Pakistan. The few that have spoken up opposing the hysterical frenzy have been accused of being backed by Dawood Ibrahim. Keeping with the trend, a recently published article titled Twelve steps to shock and awe Pakistan's economy by R Vaidyanathan, a professor of finance and control, Indian Institute of Management - Banglore, states that a stable Pakistan is not beneficial for anyone. He unabashedly makes a number of proposals aimed to bring about the economic strangulation and destabilisation of Pakistan. This demonstrates that economic terrorism is being proposed by Indian intellectuals. There is a worrisome similarity between some of his suggestions and what is transpiring in New Delhi. The two day conference of 120 Indian ambassadors and high commissioners suggest the initiation of a global campaign by Indian diplomats to pressurise and isolate Pakistan and legitimise any Indian incursions in Pakistan, if required. There has been talk of covert actions that would target the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) agency headquarters and damage the "war-waging potential" of the Pakistani army, deployment of troops on the borders and limited incursions in AJK. Mobilisation along the Rajasthan border has already been reported. Does India truly believe that an unstable Pakistan will be beneficial for the region? Instability has the propensity to spillover international boundaries. If Indian machinations were to succeed, the entire South Asian region would be aflame. Rather than pillory Pakistan because of Indian intelligence failures, New Delhi should join hands with Islamabad to combat terrorism. It seems to be lost on the Indian leadership that Pakistan has been in the forefront in the fight to defeat extremist violence. In this sense Pakistan has been a buffer that has shielded India from this scourge. Within Pakistan, as well, the initial restraint and maturity displayed by the government is gradually morphing into a more reactionary and aggressive stance. This is something that the War on Terror alliance cannot afford. Despite their frequent demands, insisting that Pakistan must "do more," the west realises the achievements of Pakistan and the resultant setback they will face if Pakistan were to redirect its efforts and resources towards its eastern border. This has even been acknowledged by the US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates in explaining the increase in military aid to Pakistan by $300 million per annum. He said: "Most people don't know that the Pakistani's have lost several thousand people in this struggle," and that the country had captured and killed more Al-Qaeda men than any other. India must, therefore, realise that it's pretensions of being an emerging power and its extra-regional ambitions will come to naught unless it renounces its policy of destabilising its neighbours. New Delhi's knee-jerk reaction of pointing an accusing finger at Pakistan has cut little ice. Islamabad has unequivocally affirmed that it would crackdown on extremist outfits and non-state actors if proof is provided that the Mumbai attacks were launched from Pakistani soil. This has emerged as a national consensus as is evident from the recent statement to this affect by the PML-N leader, Mian Nawaz Sharif. However, till now, New Delhi has failed to provide any concrete information as to the actual perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage. This has been corroborated by none other than Ronald Noble, the Chief of Interpol, who stated in Islamabad that India had not been forthcoming with evidence. He declared that Interpol had "as much information as you have in Pakistan." This view has also been echoed by Richard Barrett, coordinator of the Security Council's Al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Committee, when he asked India to "cooperate and give proof." No country, irrespective of its size, can truly flourish without regional stability and cooperation. It is, therefore, hoped that this hostile rhetoric and pressure tactics will subside after Indian elections and a strong alliance is forged between the two countries to counter the real enemy which is terrorism. The writer is the editor-in-chief of Criterion Quarterly E-mail: mushfiq.murshed@gmail.com