India decides on force to break a pointless cycle

Supporter of India’s government celebrate the air strike against Pakistan
Pro-government demonstrators celebrate India’s retaliation for the Pulwama terrorist attack with air strikes against alleged jihadist camps in northern Pakistan (source: dpa)
  • India’s government now seems committed to a harder line against Pakistan
  • The new doctrine has cut off talks and calls for mandatory retaliation to terrorist attacks
  • Not all in New Delhi are happy with this course, which will soon be verified by elections

India appears to have changed its tactics in the latest round of fighting with Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to order an air strike deep inside Pakistani territory in reprisal for a terrorist attack is evidence of a more muscular policy taking shape in New Delhi. If Mr. Modi is reelected in a few months, it can be assumed that India will be brandishing a bigger stick at its western neighbor.

The present crisis began when a suicide bomber killed 40 Indian security troops in Indian Kashmir on February 14. Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based terrorist group, claimed responsibility. Twelve days later, Indian fighters bombed what New Delhi said was a Jaish camp in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistani fighters retaliated by dropping bombs on Indian soil the next day. In the ensuing dogfight with Indian warplanes, each side claimed to have shot down a fighter.

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