Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on Wednesday his top ministers and military commanders to agree a response to a deadly weekend attack on an army camp in Kashmir that the government has blamed on militants based in Pakistan.
It wasn’t immediately known what was decided, but Modi has been under pressure to come good on his election promise two years ago to deal firmly with any attacks on India from Pakistan. The army has said it will retaliate at a time and place of choosing.
Politicians, army veterans and others have called for a muscular response, including air strikes on training camps on the Pakistan side of the de facto border that divides Kashmir between the two countries.
But analysts say India has not carried out such strikes before and runs the risk of triggering a full-scale war.
Among the options are moves to diplomatically isolate Pakistan, government sources had said after the attack.
Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the PM-headed Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), experts listed out several options, including isolating Pakistan internationally, carrying out surgical strikes to destroy terror infrastructure in PoK, back-channel talks to engage the neighbouring army and scaling up the offensive over Balochistan.
The army on Monday said it will retaliate at a time and place of its choosing, indicating that the force will target the Pakistan army in operations limited to the Line of Control.
The government could authorise commanders deployed at the LoC to use artillery fire to inflict significant casualties and destroy Pakistan posts that often provide covering fire to terrorists to help them infiltrate into Kashmir, sources said.
Despite the growing clamour for punishing Pakistan, India is unlikely to act in a rash manner and its moves will be well calculated, the sources added.
There are expectations that the NDA government will respond strongly, given that its top leaders consistently accused the previous UPA regime of going soft on terror.
Former army chief General Bikram Singh (retd) believes the political and strategic climate has changed and the government has clearly spelt out a more robust policy vis-a-vis Pakistan.
“The cautious and too idealistic approach of the past has been replaced by more realistic policy,” General Singh told ht. “Thereby, Pakistan will be paid back in its own coin and spoken to only in the language it understands.”
The CCS met on a day Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif was to address the 71sth session of the United Nations general assembly in New York.
The Pakistani foreign office says Sharif will “specifically focus on the current situation, particularly the continuing grave violations of human rights” by Indian troops in Kashmir. He will also call on the world community and the UN to “live up to their promise of the right to self-determination” of the Kashmiri people.