India On Bin Laden-Pakistan Link: 'We Told You So'

May 6, 2011

For the people of India, it came as no surprise that Osama Bin Laden was found and killed just a couple hours from Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

"Well, in a nutshell the reaction has really been we told you so," says Sadanand Dhume, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and columnist for the Wall Street Journal's Asia edition.

Since 1947, India and Pakistan have faced off in war three times, and in the last decade tensions have escalated since terrorist attacks in India were linked to militants with Pakistani ties.

For many, finding bin Laden in the military town of Abbattabod only "reinforced the long-held Indian view Pakistan is complicit in global terrorism," Dhume tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

Dhume says the perception in India is that the United States is soft on Pakistan — but that doesn't mean it is time to cut aid to the country.

"Cutting aid itself would be a terrible idea. But I think making a noise about cutting aid may in fact be a pretty good idea because the fact is that it is in the U.S.'s interest and India's interest and in Pakistan's own interest for it to be a stable, modern, moderate country. And you can't do that by cutting aid."

Instead, Dhume thinks it's time to press for reform in the army and challenge the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's spy agency, to change its policies toward terrorism and reorient itself.

"That means strengthening democracy, strengthening the rule of law, [and] strengthening those groups in civil society who very bravely speak out against radical Islam," he says.

The goal is to normalize what has been a very hostile relationship between neighbors.

"We don't have to expect Pakistanis to love Indians, but [Pakistan] can be more focused with what's happening within its own borders and improving the lives of its citizens than with what's happening within Afghanistan or India, which is really what's been the case in the past," Dhume says. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit