Crossing the Pak Rubicon

“Crossing the Pak Rubicon,” Rising Kashmir, 5 March 2019

The last two weeks since the militant attack in Pulwama has been a dangerous rollercoaster ride for India and Pakistan. The air strike by India inside Pakistan, the latter’s response across the LoC and the shooting down of an Indian plane and the capture of an Indian pilot and his subsequent release by Islamabad – there were fears of a military escalation. Fortunately, the situation seems to have cooled down, though cross-LoC attacks are continuing. 

Of all the actions and counteractions during the last two weeks between India and Pakistan across the LoC and the IB, what stands out is India crossing the international border, flying into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and targeting a Jaish camp. The issue is not whether there was a militant camp or not. The point also is not whether there were that many militants (over 300, as has been reported in India) inside the camp when it was targetted. The issue also is not whether India merely dropped a few ammunition and returned empty-handed, as reported by Pakistan. 

The real issue is India crossing the international border and carrying out a military strike in response to the deadly militant attack in J&K. It is crossing the Rubicon. Now it has been crossed, what does it mean for the Indo-Pak relations? Will the military strike help future leaders to take a decision, if there is a militant attack on the Indian soil, or will it pressurise them to respond militarily? More importantly, India believes a message has been conveyed to Pakistan. Has Pakistan received the same?

Authors

D. Suba Chandran
D. Suba Chandran is a Professor at the International Strategic & Security Studies, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore.

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