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Pulwama Attack: Modi needs this escalation more than India does

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#IndiaWantsRevenge, “Go to Pakistan”, “Ban Artists”, “Stop Trade”,” Attack on their soil”, “Another Surgical Strike”- Since 14 February, social media has been flooding with all these keywords in the backdrop of Pulwama Attack in Kashmir. In the attack, an army convoy about 20 kilometres from Srinagar was hit by an SUV carrying explosives, resulting into the deaths of 40 soldiers. In response of one of the biggest attacks in Indian history, Modi government and anti-Pak elements are constantly attacking Pakistan, accusing us of having planned and perpetrated the attack.

This time the scale of criticism and post attack measures are different as compared to Uri Attack and Pathankot. Arun Jaitley, Indian Finance Minister, announced taking back the MFN (Most Favourite Nation) status from Pakistan and 200% import duty has been imposed on all Pakistani products. Leading artists and players are also joining the social media critics in attacking Pakistan to show their digital patriotism or to save themselves from the wrath of Hindu extremists.

Navjot Singh Sidhu has lost his job at the famous Kapil Sharma show just because of his statement that an entire nation can’t be blamed for the act of some individuals. Cricket club of India has put a cover on the portrait of Imran Khan in its cricket museum.

After many days, as the dust of anger, frustration and insensibility is finally settling down and some meaningful opinions are finding space. The critics are questioning the Modi Government’s Kashmir policy, the failure of the army to work on the intelligence leads and involvement of a local Kashmiri person in the attack.

It’s difficult to know or predict what’s cooking in Indian civil and military establishment’s mind but one thing is for sure, they know that the options are limited.

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This time, they have reiterated their resolve to isolate Pakistan globally. This policy has failed in the past too and same would be the case this time for a number of reasons. Firstly, China will not support any such moves. Chinese have shown this in United Nations in the past by vetoing moves to declare Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. Chinese want concrete evidence for any such action. Secondly, in recent years Pakistan’s relations with Turkey and Saudi Arabia have touched new heights and without the backing of these two powerful Muslim countries, any Indian idiocy to try and get the Muslim countries on its side are bound to fail. And thirdly, the entire idea of India’s diplomatic offensive is based on US support for the same. But right now, Indian establishment is well aware of the limitations that the US is working with. It is the first time since the US invasion of Afghanistan that a meaningful dialogue between the US and Taliban is taking place and US needs Pakistan on its side for this dialogue to succeed. And, the next session of talks is scheduled to take place in Pakistan. US, right now, would not go any further than a verbal condolence.

Indian elections are just round the corner, and the country’s political stage is all set for the electoral drama. Just before the elections, BJP’s grip on the floor is already under threat with the rise of a women triangle – Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh, who has joined hands with Samaj Wadi Party, Mamata Baneerje, who continues to give a tough time to BJP and its allies in the south, and last but not least, the unprecedented move from Congress has come in the form of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s official entrance on the election stage. She has been given the charge of Congress Secretary General of Uttar Pradesh east. It is therefore uncertain whether BJP’s dreams to get power through a clean sweep will come true or not. But, this attack has changed the dynamics of elections and BJP will now base its election agenda on anti-Pakistan hatred. Mamata Banerjee has already questioned the timing of attack while the Congress is relying on wait-and-watch policy. Based on the economic progress and current Indian political scenario, it can be predicted that BJP will emerge again as the largest party but without clear majority. It will have to make alliances to form the government. As far as opposition parties are concerned, it is unlikely that they’ll be able to make the government. They don’t have a suitable candidate for PMship. Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken a good step by coming forward himself and denouncing Indian allegations while offering help for investigation. News is also coming about the activation of back door diplomatic channels to ease down the escalating tensions.

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Pakistan shouldn’t be trapped by any Indian border adventure. In fact we have to avoid any warlike situation because this will eventually help the BJP to sell it for vote bank. If Pakistan doesn’t react and border remains stable, or back door diplomacy keeps them engaged, BJP and RSS will lose at least 10-15% middle class vote bank.

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