India’s strength, endurance and indeed place in the world are on trial as never before in its 70-year history since Independence. At the forefront of a changing paradigm the grand strategy is to consistently challenge historical archetypes. The reaction to the January 2016 Pathankot air base attack, for instance, was “strategic-restraint-laden” in the old tradition. But the assault on the army base camp at Uri in September 2016 provoked a very different response.

Throwing old-style caution aside, the government began with an indictment of Pakistan-inspired terror at the UN general assembly, suspended the 56-year-old biannual Indus Water Treaty meeting, withdrew from the 19th South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Islamabad, and lined up Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives as abstainers to speak up against Pakistan’s use of terror as an “instrument of state policy”.

In parallel, and upping the ante, the government authorised coordinated “surgical hits” across the Line of Control (LoC) and for once deployed all its diplomatic assets to neutralise or soften the reactions of the great powers, including Pakistan’s all-weather friend China.

From a long-term perspective, therefore, it is essential to make sense of these events, especially in the backdrop of India’s newfound confidence and precise military-diplomatic-economic capacity.

The Uri attack of September 18 by Pakistan-based terrorists was a ritualistic test of India’s mettle through the Zia-ul-Haq “bleed-India-by-a-thousand-cuts” policy. Pakistan has experimented with variants of this approach since 1971, when a lightning war cut away its eastern half and led to the birth of Bangladesh.

The humiliation was compounded by the surrender of the entire Pakistani military contingent of some 93,000 soldiers to the Indian force. The Indira Gandhi government rubbed in the defeat through the Simla agreement of 1972, which restrained Pakistan from using force to alter frontiers with India. It was to overcome this carefully crafted obstacle that the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan army planners devised a strategy that would not violate the letter of the agreement but still enable Pakistan to wage a war to alter the border.

Since that time Pakistan has supported militancy, first in Punjab, then in Kashmir, in a proxy war that gained momentum after 1989. India’s internal instability in those years made that task easier. Since 1998, when the two countries decided to go nuclear, Pakistan was emboldened to raise the stakes in terrorism. Every terror attack was met by India with nothing more than “sound and fury”, and finally it succumbed to an illusory and unproven “nuclear danger” and adopted a one-sided strategic restraint policy for a long time.

The aftermath of the Uri attack is a study in contrast. India decided to apply its sovereign strength and as a first sign abrogated the Indus Water Treaty meeting, which was held even during the four Indo-Pak conventional wars. India’s decision to increase the exploitation of water, especially on the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab must have sent the chills through Pakistan. Immediately after the announcement, it pleaded with the World Bank to stop India, only to find India had already informed the bank about invoking Article IX of the “Treaty Between The Government Of India And The Government Of Pakistan Concerning The Most Complete And Satisfactory Utilisation Of The Waters Of The Indus System Of Rivers” signed on 19 September 1960.

This decision, if implemented with dynamism, could be the single step that could push Pakistan to the verge of socio-economic collapse, with consequences more far-reaching than contemporary theorists can envision. Although less debated in the popular media and ignored by strategic thinkers because of its lack of immediate appeal, fresh water is one of the fiercely contested resources in Asia as the continent has the most people living with inadequate water.

Uri was a slap in the face for Modi and diminished his domestic stature. It also inspired National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his team to present more options on dealing with an unrepentant Pakistan.

In 2002, then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee recognised water security as an “overriding national objective”.  Pakistan, where industry never took root because of terrorism and military rule, is an agrarian economy and heavily water-dependent. Its inability to use water wisely causes both flood and drought every year even under the best water-sharing environment. Further denial of water during drought and unrestricted release in a good monsoon year is a recipe for chaos. It would be a nightmare for farmers and severely disrupt Pakistan’s delicate food security. Terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad are baying for Indian blood over the notion that it is behind Pakistan’s water woes. 

If the government pursues its actions on water to the extreme, it could prove to be a significant counter-strike against General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. As the treaty was a peace initiative and generous gesture by Jawaharlal Nehru, arbitration or international tribunals would be of little help to Pakistan in enforcing the pact.



ri was a slap in the face for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and diminished his domestic stature. It also inspired National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his team to present more options on dealing with an unrepentant Pakistan. India’s public angst, caused by the bizarre theory of limited options against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism was a source of constant concern for the government. For every case in which foreign forces are involved, the NSA in consultation with the foreign office is expected to prepare a response. In the past, the response was limited to severing dialogue, reduction of bilateral engagement, deployment of the army at eyeball-to-eyeball distance and as a final gambit an “appeal to the international community”, especially United States to task Pakistan for action against terrorist sanctuaries.

Since it was created, three of the National Security Advisors have been Foreign Service officers and two Police Service officers who also headed the Intelligence Bureau. Modi wanted an out-of-box response and so came the unprecedented cancellation of participation in the Islamabad SAARC summit. India’s success in forcing Pakistan’s South Asia isolation is particularly noteworthy in light of the fact that international relations are guided by the English statesman Lord Palmerston’s “nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests”.

This is probably the first time outside the United Nations that India managed to put together an alliance of nations against Pakistan’s terror policy.

Before the dust of Uri and the Indian riposte could settle, India hosted the heads of state of BRICS (British economist Jim O’Neill coined BRIC in 2001 with Brazil, Russia, India and China as members; South Africa was added later) countries at Goa. In a restricted session of the summit, Modi spearheaded a hurricane of outbursts against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, calling the country the “mother ship of terrorism”, saying terrorist modules around the world are linked to the mother ship. He appealed to BRICS to “stand and act together against this threat”. But this was an off-the-record discussion and not part of the main sessions.

Modi also engaged the BIMSTEC nations (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Sri Lanka), as part of the BRICS outreach, which offered him an opportunity to expand his tirade against Pakistan. Addressing the BRICS-BIMSTEC leaders, Modi again invoked Pakistan’s embrace and radiation of terror.

Modi’s managers, however, failed to convince BRICS members, especially China, to mention Pakistan’s role in exporting terrorism in the joint declaration. It ended without mentioning the Uri attack and India’s attempt to isolate Pakistan was blocked by the Chinese wall. India reached the limit of its diplomatic ingenuity at the BRICS summit in this regard, with the declaration ritualistically condemning “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”.



akistan too has been using its foreign office, totally under military control, to tarnish India’s international image on Kashmir and on other issues. In the aftermath of the surgical hit, numerous western diplomats in New Delhi told me how their missions in Indonesia, Australia, Argentina and Saudi Arabia received detailed point-by-point presentations from Pakistani counterparts on how India’s claim was untrue. In the past three months, Pakistan has summoned envoys of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in Islamabad to complain about alleged Indian atrocities in Kashmir. Pakistan briefs nearly all global capitals on Kashmir at the drop of a hat.

India in contrast never utilised its diplomatic leverage as it considers Pakistan’s Kashmir obsession “madness and a journey to an unfathomable abyss.

Like its American counterpart, the Central Intelligence Agency, Pakistan’s ISI hires offshore academics, foreign-based civil society members and important government officials to mount psychological pressure on India. Alastair Lamb’s book, Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy, backing Pakistan’s claim on Kashmir was such a step. More surprising was US Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel’s statement questioning the legal basis of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India in October 1947, stage-managed by Pakistan’s foreign office. The New York Times in October 2015 reported that the FBI raided Raphel’s home and office in search of proof she was spying for Pakistan. Raphel, who was at the foreign office and shaping America’s Pakistan policy, was on the payroll of ISI when her colleagues from the diplomatic corps were deeply frustrated by Islamabad’s double game on terrorism.

In June 2013, Chikako Taya, a former judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia informed me that in February that year, the Pakistani Ambassador in Tokyo, Farukh Amil, invited Japanese intelligentsia and bureaucrats “to stir up public opinion on Kashmir”. Japanese participants asked their host “to accept LoC as international boundary” and reportedly told the ambassador that “in reality Kashmiris do not want to join Pakistan and the ordinary Japanese does not know even the whereabouts of Kashmir”. Amil, who is still Pakistani envoy in Tokyo, is neither tired nor retired on Kashmir and still trying to stir up Japanese public opinion. Such is the commitment of Pakistan’s foreign office so far as Kashmir is concerned.

India in contrast never utilised its diplomatic leverage as it considers Pakistan’s Kashmir obsession “madness and a journey to an unfathomable abyss”. (Fragile Frontiers, Routledge, 2016) But this restraint has not always been profitable. At times near and distant friends like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Russia have spoken against India. Russia, the only country to stand with India through thick and thin has entered into a military alliance with Pakistan and conducted joint army drills inside Pakistan. This drill, after the Uri attack, was a grim reminder of Palmerston’s prophetic quote and necessitates deeper introspection on India’s diplomatic competence.

The irony is hard to miss when we consider India’s embassy in Moscow was its first diplomatic mission to be opened and Nehru sent his sister Vijaylakshmi Pandit as ambassador to the USSR in August 1947. But it was the philosopher-savant Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, her successor, who won the heart and mind of Joseph Stalin, who refused to meet Pandit during her tenure in Moscow. Through an unassuming and frank portrayal of his own self and an honest description of India’s mind, Radhakrishnan produced a crucial result as the Soviet Union defended India and blasted the United Kingdom and the United States at the Security Council meeting in 1951 in Paris for meddling in Kashmir on behalf of Pakistan. Since then Soviet and, later, Russian representatives have vetoed all Pakistan-motivated western resolutions in the Security Council that were not acceptable to India. This practice continues today but Russia’s Pakistan outreach is casting a shadow on ties with India.

In the global village, India cannot afford a static-bureaucratic foreign office. With close to 200 diplomatic missions and posts abroad, India is poised to play a global role but the mere 900 Foreign Service (A) officers are not adequate to meet, as former foreign secretary M. K. Rasgotra said, “the international responsibilities of a country of India’s size and importance”.

Incidentally, when 70 Russian soldiers and officers participated in the first-ever joint military drills with Pakistan at Attock in September-October 2016, 250 soldiers of the Kumaon Regiment and 250 soldiers from Russia’s 59th Motorized Infantry Brigade were undertaking the eighth edition of the India-Russia Joint Military Exercise “INDRA-2016” at Ussiriysk District in Vladivostok. India’s recent arms deal with Russia resulted in the latter’s unequivocal support of the surgical strike across LoC. Similarly, abandoning its decades-long balancing act, the US ambassador reiterated his country’s support for India. Looking at the portents for the future, such support from great powers is significant as the government can now plan for retaliation in case of a future terror strike by Pakistani non-state actors without the anxiety of international isolation and helplessness.

Pakistan’s military entirely controls its India policy. This is no secret and countless officers, journalists, academics and intelligence officers have deliberated on the issue with surprising accuracy. Despite this knowledge, all governments in India scorn the army and try to build a rapport with the civilian bureaucracy and elected governments. So the Indian handshake with civilian leaders and Pakistan military-sponsored attacks on Indian interests go hand in hand. The only force to counter Pakistani intransigence is foreign-imposed pressure.

Both the military and civilian leaders are chary of international isolation and criticism from world powers because there is no alternative to foreign aid to run the government and foreign technology to upgrade Pakistan’s military. India’s strategic thinkers wasted a great deal of energy in finding illusory local solutions to Pakistan-supported terrorism. They have proved ineffective and India developed a sort of angry resignation in the aftermath of every terror hit.

The time has come to engage international players seriously—not on Kashmir but against Pakistan’s use of terror as state policy. Calibrated efforts to rally international support in today’s terror-stricken, unsafe and bruised world capitals could prove effective.


n August 12, 2016, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the combined strength of India’s army, navy and air force is 14.08 lakh. In addition, the total pool of paramilitary forces comprising the Central Reserve Police Force, Shastra Seema Bal, Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Assam Rifles and Indo-Tibetan Border Police stood at 8.70 lakh. India has the third largest army in the world but despite such a vast force at its disposal, it finds difficulty in devising a suitable method to contain a few thousand Pakistani terrorists. Unlike Israel and America, who have conducted pre-emptive strikes at the very heart of terrorist sanctuaries, India has traditionally sought non-confrontational solutions.

For the first time after Uri the military launched multiple officially acknowledged cross-Line of Control strikes, hitting so-called terrorist launch pads. The June 2015 “surgical strikes” against Naga militants inside Myanmar had the tacit consent of its government but the strike was not advertised by the Indian army. After the September 29 strike, however, following standard operating procedure and international norms, Director General of Military Operations Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh contacted his Pakistani counterpart Maj. General Sahir Shamshad Mirza to “inform him of Indian Army’s actions”.

India’s defensive posture was reversed and terrorists engaged in their own backyard.

In India, the absence of retaliation for Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks in past decades had frustrated people, civilian and military. So the strikes provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate.

Indian public opinion to the response has been marked by mass hysteria rather than painstaking and substantial soul-searching. Lt. Gen. Singh was limited in his elaborations on the exact nature, scale and scope of the strikes. Closer scrutiny of his written statement, the only official government communication, reiterated that the pre-emptive strikes were directed “at launch pads along Line of Control” where the army conducted “surgical strikes”. All other government briefings were indoor, exclusive and secret. Although it was difficult for the army to provide the exact nature and scale of success of such surprise night raids, the Director General Military Operations (DGMO) was quite clear about the “significant casualties caused to terrorists and those providing support to them”.

A stunned Pakistani military and civilian leadership failed to provide an organised response. By the time the military decided on denials, the damage had been done as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had criticised Indian action. A day after, the Pakistani DGMO briefed envoys of the five permanent members of the Security Council, refuting Indian claim and contending that the cross-border  raids were actually firing, a routine affair in this part of the world. To press its point Pakistan choreographed the visit of a select group of 20 journalists from global media outlets to Boxor Formation and Hot Spring Formation along the LoC on October 2. The journalists did not find any bodies of terrorists at the selected locations and accordingly filed their stories.

Whatever the response, the strikes presented a strategic dilemma. They were a reminder of the May 2, 2011, surgical strike by US Navy SEALs on the compound of Osama bin Laden on the edge of the garrison town of Abbottabad. After that raid, junior army officers rebelled against General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani for failing to prevent such a strike. The military wanted to avoid a repeat of such a situation. Denial was the easiest way to achieve the objective. With the explicit intention of keeping their hordes under control, it systematically planted doubts among all about the occurrence of a surgical strike.

In India, the absence of retaliation for Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks in past decades had frustrated people, civilian and military. So the strikes provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate, in news media, social media and other public spaces. The admission by Inter Services Public Relations, the official arm of Pakistan army’s information division, of the death of two Pakistani soldiers in the raid prompted even responsible people to go crazy and wild claims started flying. At the same time, more evidence started emerging in the media and the targeted sites were identified by locals. Chalhana, Khairati Bagh, Athmuqam, Dudhnial, Tangdhar, Kel, Leepa, Tatapani, Hotspring and Bimber were the militant camps targeted by the raiders.

Nevertheless, lack of official explanation on operational details meant there was no authoritative clarification on the exact locations of launch pads, the number of forces used and the casualties inflicted on the terrorists and their enablers. Therefore, all details in the public domain about the strike are leaks and unofficial deliberations from unknown sources.

The government failed to estimate the limitations of a written statement by the DGMO because millions of news hungry Indians wanted more. The occasional release of pictures on social networking sites by government showing the wise and powerful sitting in the inner sanctum of the power structure said little but aroused curiosity. The more people talked about the strike the vaguer the operation became.

In the information age, generals and journalists are able to provide real time audio-visual operational details that would rival the live telecast of a popular match. During the Afghan War of 2001, the Iraq War of 2003 and even in the ongoing Syrian struggle, the military might of America, Russia and other powers is on display. Russia’s defence ministry has released satellite video displaying the trajectory of cruise missiles from warships in the Mediterranean targeting Islamic militants in distant Syria. Similarly, the American drone programme directly controlled by the White House from CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia, has released occasional photographs showing unmanned aerial vehicles hitting their targets. Despite the evidence of bodies of Osama’s family, the mortal remains of his couriers and the wreckage of one of the aircraft, the Americans decided to release a few photographs, not video, of the Navy SEALs’ raid on Abbottabad that automatically silenced the most sceptical critics about the authenticity of the raid.

Displays of marital valour are never the point of any debate on the subject of Pakistan but the display of a few photographs is a political call. The government cannot fall into the Pakistani trap and must not be tempted to make video, if there is any, public. But a few carefully chosen photographs will in no way compromise operational secrets.

The sharp cross-border retort was long overdue as it produced a new counter-narrative for the future—a departure from self-imposed strategic restraint.


n Pakistan the effect of the surgical strikes is horizontal. On October 3, in a secret meeting, foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry informed the military in the presence of Nawaz Sharif that their recent outreach had produced nothing but “diplomatic isolation and that the government’s talking points have been met with indifference in major world capitals”. Chaudhry informed the gathering that all including China wanted action against the Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba and their leaders.

Nawaz Sharif and his foreign office obey the military diktat and campaign against India at the UN and world capitals with missionary zeal. But there are few takers now for their claims.

If India decided to up the ante diplomatically and militarily for a reasonable duration, the future would certainly be promising. The nuclear danger is calculated Pakistani blackmail and it is time to move beyond the rhetoric. The truth is that the surgical strikes across a 250-km stretch of the 740-km long Line of Control have put GHQ Rawalpindi under pressure. It is battling homegrown extremism through Operation Zerb-e-Azb in the lawless Federally Administered Tribal Area since June 2014; it is overstretched on the restive border with Afghanistan; and as a partner of the US war on terrorism is also unwillingly assisting America in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani government and the army’s suffocating embrace of the vast spectrum of terrorist groups is becoming impossible to defend, especially at international forums as its credibility wanes. Its extremist landscape comprises India-centric terrorist groups, Afghan-centric organisations, international terror outfits, and domestic extremists. Given such an eclectic collection, Pakistan’s “pick-and-drop” terror policy has proved counter-productive because some of the extremist groups attack domestic interests. As they are a significant part of the army’s strategic arsenal against India and Afghanistan, the military and civilian leadership are always at loggerheads on strategic options.

Nawaz Sharif and his foreign office obey the military diktat and campaign against India at the UN and world capitals with missionary zeal. But there are few takers now for their claims. In fact, increasing global isolation is causing a strain in civilian-military relations and as retirement approaches for General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s army chief, he is trying his best to hang on for a couple more years. The military wanted to build up domestic opinion in favor of an extended tenure, but the strikes and the global repercussions have disrupted that campaign.

Domestically, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan has criticised Nawaz Sharif for letting the strikes take place and promised a stronger response if he comes to power.


lobal powers have reacted cautiously to Indian military overtures and discreetly welcomed its change of stance. The US has demanded action from Pakistan against the Haqqani Network while Russia endorsed India’s right of self-defence. Germany, the United Kingdom, France and other western countries have also favoured India. China too, although it has reiterated its support for Pakistan, has indicated a preference for a change in course by Islamabad.

The surgical strikes were a large and risky bet Narendra Modi placed to change the discourse. The Pathankot attack and subsequent permission for Pakistani investigators to visit the crime scene—without getting anything in return—was the low water mark of his neighbourly policy. India’s strong economy and growth rate was one of the major reasons for its restraint. National interest was counted in terms of the size of the economy—US$2.28 trillion compared to Pakistan’s e US$270 billion economy. But this policy had to be measured against the rising frustrations of citizens and declining troop morale. This strike provided the perfect response.


hatever happens, Pakistan’s ruling obsession is India. There is nothing in Pakistani military doctrine other than enmity with India. Even its Afghan engagement and sheltering of Afghan militants is part of this doctrine as it wanted to deny India a foothold in Afghanistan. There was no great strategy behind the Kargil War except for the irredentist preference of a general. Against this background, another conventional war with India may not need a rationale that would be appreciated by reasonable people. The civilian leadership’s writ is lopsided, so there is nothing to stop a general’s misadventure leading to full scale war.

Barring international pressure, there is nothing holding Pakistan’s military back from India. A self-destructive military under deep churn that might act on any provocation is far more dangerous than one can imagine. It is only because of international pressures that the two countries’ militaries are talking to each other to establish a calmer environment that would prevent a battlefield engagement.

Any debate about an Indo-Pakistan conflict and Pakistan’s descent into chaos leads to dark delusions of a scenario where Pakistani jihadis get hold of the nuclear arsenal. Global analysts shudder at the thought of Pakistan’s slide into disarray as it is the only country with more than 100 nuclear weapons and a powerful militant insurgency in its midst. The jihadis are desperate to acquire the bomb and use it. The country’s governing structure, which veers between military dictatorship that supports terrorists and democratically elected leadership that is chiefly corrupt and inefficient, is not helpful either.

But Islamabad understands that its nuclear weapons are under threat not only from Islamic militants and al- Qaeda scientists but also from Indian saboteurs and even American Special Forces teams “perpetually bobbing just offshore, refining their plans to snatch Pakistan’s weapons if a crisis erupts”, to quote David E. Sanger in The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenge to American Power. To reduce the danger of unauthorised use of its nuclear arsenal Pakistan accepted a classified $100 million American grant to induct a Permissible Action Links programme to “lock down its nuclear-weapons”, says Sanger.

In a sign of where the real power lies, the nuclear button hangs at GHQ in Rawalpindi. The city is an assassin’s playground, where Liaquat Ali Khan and Benazir Bhutto were killed and then President Gen. Musharraf narrowly escaped death twice. In the event of a breakdown of governance, the arsenal may not remain in safe hands.


akistan’s nuclear complex employs roughly 70,000 people, of whom 35,000 are involved in the technology of the programme, including 7,000 to 8,000 scientists. There are “nearly 2,000 nuclear scientists and engineers with critical knowledge of how to build a weapon”; (Obama’s worst Pakistan nightmare, by David E. Sanger, published in The New York Times). The task of keeping the Pakistani Taliban, religious zealots, al-Qaeda, and other jihadis from getting close to the nuclear hierarchy is another nightmare.

According to Sanger, the US has trained roughly 200 of these scientists at its Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico on the basics of protecting a nuclear arsenal. In addition, “Permissive Action Links”, a series of codes and hardware protections, ensures only a very small group of authorised users can arm and detonate a nuclear weapon. The PALs are a leftover from the Cold War, desi  gned to make sure rogue elements don’t get their hands on nuclear weapons or the nuclear button. Pakistan is stacking its warheads in tunnels and caves and the US-funded programme is intended to ensure that a terrorist who got his hands on one could not simply set the timer and walk away.

No matter what happens to the vast number of Pakistani nuclear weapons, Modi’s gambit has reassured the world that nuclear blackmail has its limits. India’s action must not be linked with Pakistan’s nuclear capacity. The “pick-and-drop” approach of the world vis-à-vis terrorists and terror organisations by any country including the US and Pakistan has produced devastating results. China is now following this path of supporting international terrorists. The world is increasingly susceptible to terrorism. Against this backdrop Modi’s approach, coming after India’s prolonged policy of restraint, could guide the world’s Pakistan policy for many years.

Despite his hawkish image, Modi gave Pakistan ample opportunity to prove its sincerity after Pathankot. He gave them a long rope and then decided to adopt a long-term approach to change the self-imposed strategic restraint policy and take decisive steps to increase its firepower. The Rafale deal with France is one of the cornerstones of the plan to improve India’s capacity before the end of 2020.

From the Pakistani military’s view, it would be difficult to disown the terrorists so soon for merely international pressure. The terrorist groups must be planning the next big attacks and such planning takes years to materialise, as was the case with 26/11. Still, it is only a matter of time before the next desperate attack on an Indian facility takes place. After the dust over surgical strikes settles, troops will return to their barracks and diplomacy will take up the slack when another terror attack disturbs the balance. In other words, the cycle will be repeated.

When the Dawn newspaper reported Nawaz Sharif’s stern warning against the military’s support for terrorism, because of which Pakistan is globally isolated, the public responded with praise. A Pakistani Spring is the dire need of our time, but can Modi’s India be the harbinger of such a change? Without that spring South Asia will remain where it is, forever looking over its shoulder for the next terror attack.