The video testimony of David Cameron Headley in an Indian Court corroborated the Indian version of speculation surrounding the 2008 Mumbai attacks because according to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) facilitator/terrorist, the ISI orchestrated the whole attack, handling each LeT member from this side of the border. The testimony should not be accepted as fact immediately however, for a number of reasons. Primarily, Headley’s intentions will always be subject for debate, because here is a man who first conspired against the Indian state and its people, supposedly at the behest of the ISI if his version is to be believed, and now speaks from a US prison after being granted amnesty by India for his part in the attack in exchange for information.

The Headley case perfectly captures the Pakistan India relationship in the recent past. The Indian government blames ISI while the Pakistani side points fingers at RAW in its turn. The US meanwhile, is somewhere in the middle, never really committing it’s full support for either side in order to maintain its alliance with both countries. While on one hand the US would have been perfectly aware of the testimony Headley would give and the uproar it would result in on the Indian side of the border, it let it go through which is essentially accusing Pakistan of fostering terror on home soil while simultaneously congratulating Pakistani efforts on eradicating terror in the country in a separate statement in the same day.

In his latest interview, David Headley has really not revealed as much as the Indian government would have been hoping. Apart from pinning Ishrat Jahan as an alleged LeT operative, Headley’s assertions are a repeat of what he stated to the Indian National Investigation Agency in 2012. As far as Ishrat Jahan is concerned, Indian investigations into the death of the nineteen year old girl in 2004 reveal that she was killed in a fake police encounter, and no link was established between her and LeT. In fact, while the police claimed that they killed Jahan and three others because of a plot to assassinate Modi for the riots in Gujrat, the Central Bureau of Investigation discovered that the police kidnapped the ‘suspects’, took them to Ahmedabad and pumped them full of bullets. Bradley’s revelations then are not as revealing as was hoped. Hafiz Saeed may indeed have had a large role to play in the attack, and given that LeT is a product of our own misguided policy of strategic depth, it may very well be altogether plausible that officials from within the ISI facilitated the 2008 attack. But this is a far cry from the institutional and governmental support that India claims was behind the attack.

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