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HT Exclusive: India held back strike till Sushma’s UN speech

India's Pakistan offensive Updated: Sep 29, 2016 17:42 IST
Sushma speech

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, US on September 26, 2016. (Reuters)

India waited for external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to deliver her address at the United Nations General Assembly before carrying out “surgical strikes” across the Line of Control, a source said on Thursday.

“We first focused on a diplomatic offensive. Sushmaji’s speech was a key element of that. And that had constrained us for ten days,” the top political source told Hindustan Times explaining the time lag between the Uri attack of September 18 and India’s response on Thursday morning.

The idea was to use the UNGA to expose Pakistan’s role as a sponsor of terror in the speech given by Swaraj on Monday evening.

The next day, Delhi took the second step in its plan to isolate Pakistan and walked out of the November Saarc summit to be held in Islamabad. It also succeeded in mobilising Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to do so.

It was then ready to exercise the coercive option.

“In all his statements, PM Modi had been indicating that he was with the armed forces. This was meant to boost their morale and prepare them for it,” the source said.

The orders eventually went out on Wednesday.

While Delhi expects some escalation in clashes on the LoC, the fact that Pakistan is underplaying the strike indicates that it will not retaliate beyond a point.

“Its response will determine our next moves, including issues like MFN (most favoured nation).”