With the exception of China (and Pakistan), India has received diplomatic support from all the major powers and our Saarc neighbours.
The fidayeen attack that killed 44 CRPF jawans and injured as many in the Awantipora area of Pulwama district on Thursday afternoon, as their convoy was making its way from Jammu to Srinagar, is probably the deadliest in Jammu & Kashmir ever. The Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed immediately took responsibility for it. The country is angry. Opposition parties have backed the jawans and the government on any action that might be taken in response. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said so explicitly. All eyes are now on what the government does here on.
At two public events on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of people’s “blood boiling”. This offered the strongest suggestion that military options against Pakistan are visualised. Mr Modi said that the security forces had been authorised to choose the timing and the nature of the response. Perhaps this is an indication of some action short of an open breakout of hostilities. This suggests measured retaliation, which is the right way to go about things, given the overall political scenario in the country and in the region.
India is getting ready for national elections. In such a moment, it is to be appreciated that if an open war will cripple Pakistan’s economy, it will also disturb our own financials which have not looked good for the past two years.
At the geopolitical level, the United States is engaged in intensive diplomatic activity to reach appropriate agreements with the Taliban before it can move its forces out of Afghanistan. In this scenario, it will have to be solicitous of Pakistan and will expect that India does not launch a war that will divert Islamabad’s attention from the Taliban-related political moves currently in play. Whatever the response our armed forces eventually give effect to, they do not need to be mindful of the presence of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman in Pakistan on Friday and in India right after that.
With the exception of China (and Pakistan), India has received diplomatic support from all the major powers and our Saarc neighbours. They have condemned terrorism and urged Pakistan not to allow terrorists to operate from its soil. But this does not mean that Islamabad is diplomatically isolated. In the steps that we take, we must be certain that we have to act independently in a spirit of self-help.
While Thursday’s attack has magnified the Pakistan dimension, we must be clear that the political situation in Kashmir has not changed qualitatively as a result of the attack on the CRPF. It is absurd and dangerous that violent protests in Jammu should have targeted Kashmiris or Muslims. Let communal politics not destroy our unity at a difficult moment. We should also be mindful that operational procedures regarding CRPF movements were so obviously lax, a problem also seen earlier when Naxalites have attacked this force.