A year and a half ago, when bomb blasts occurred in Ahmedabad and Bangalore, I wrote here: "Protecting public, open places is impossible.... unless one puts up entry barriers for the entire city and vets each one of the several million residents of the city. The cost of that -- and I don't mean monetary -- would be unacceptable. This is true not just in India... Terrorism is always a cowardly thing, but I suspect the reason this sort of thing isn't more common is that, even to the terrorists, targetting civilians in public places is too easy, too cowardly."
The news of today's restaurant bombing in Pune makes me stand by that statement. If -- as it appears -- it was a terrorist attack and not an accident, it was a craven and cowardly thing to do. My condolences to the victims. But, paradoxically, this only shows the desperation of the terrorists. If they are reduced to this sort of action, which requires no sort of bravery and earns them only opprobrium from all quarters, it shows how little their support -- whether local or foreign is; and how effective India's anti-terrorism strategy has been, that in this enormous and crowded country this has been the first terrorist attack since the Mumbai attacks over 14 months ago.