Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's announcement that he was holding Pakistan accountable for the barbaric killing of two Indian soldiers on the LoC was part of a deliberate “escalatory mechanism” adopted by the Centre. Singh’s statement came only after a brigadier-level flag meeting in Poonch failed to break the ice with Pakistani army officials.
Senior official sources say the government will watch political developments in Pakistan closely before deciding on the next course of action. It believes there is a strong probability that the Pakistani general elections may be delayed if a caretaker government emerges from the present chaos in Pakistan. “The assessment is that if political uncertainty prevails in Pakistan, president Asif Ali Zardari may dissolve the national assembly and take the opportunity to extend the election date beyond March this year,” said an official.
An Indian official said Singh intervened only when it became clear that Islamabad had decided to adopt a policy of total denial. “The PM did not want to jump into the issue on the first day. He issued a tough statement after the Pakistan army acted casual about Indian concerns.”
To strengthen the message, New Delhi used the pretext of a technical glitch to defer the new visa-on-arrival agreement for citizens over 65 years of age.
South Block officials say the “head-for-a-head” demand of the BJP would only serve the purpose of the Pakistan army, which is unhappy with India being given the most-favoured country status and increasing people-to-people contact.