Defence minister Manohar Parrikar made a veiled swipe at Islamabad on Thursday for warning New Delhi against pre-emptive strikes after a counter-insurgency offensive in Myanmar as Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attacked India's "hostile rhetoric", ratcheting up tensions between the two nations.
As the two nations traded barbs for the second consecutive day, Pakistan's parliament passed resolutions condemning "provocative statements" by Indian leaders over Tuesday's cross-border operation against two militant groups.
"If the thinking pattern changes, lots of things change. A simple action against insurgents has changed the mindset of the full security scenario in the country. Those who fear India's new posture have already started reacting," Parrikar said, amid reports of a ceasefire violation and infiltration bid by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir that was thwarted by security forces.
In the wake of the pre-emptive strikes in Myanmar, minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore had said the raid was a message to Pakistan and groups "harbouring terror intent towards India".
Parrikar on Myanmar: "Those who fear India's new posture are reacting"
This clearly ruffled feathers across the border as Sharif and former president Pervez Musharraf reminded New Delhi of Pakistan's military and nuclear strength.
Both houses of Pakistan's parliament also unanimously passed a resolution condemning the "irresponsible and hostile statements" during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Bangladesh and criticised India's "hegemonic mindset".
"The entire nation is dismayed by the recent irresponsible and, I must say, imprudent statements from the Indian political leadership. This vitiates the atmosphere and takes us further away from our goal of regional peace and stability. We will protect our vital interests at all costs," Sharif said, insisting recent statements by Indian ministers hampered bilateral ties. Sharif said externally-sponsored violence posed a great threat to the country, a reference to Indian intelligence agencies which Pakistan's civil and military leadership has accused of abetting terror.
Musharraf also reminded India of Pakistan's nuclear capabilities. "Don't attack us, don't challenge our territorial integrity because we are not a small power, we're a major and nuclear power," the 71-year-old said.
India's counter-insurgency operation in Myanmar that eliminated more than 30 insurgents came days after Modi hit out at Pakistan for harbouring terrorists, calling it a "nuisance" during a visit to Bangladesh.
Long before the reactions started trickling in, HT asked its readers whether the Indian Army's operation against militants serve as a warning to terror groups hiding in other countries.
And the reaction was overwhelming. In the web poll published at 10:30am on Wednesday, a whopping 12,837 readers cast their votes till 11:30am on Thursday.
Notwithstanding Pakistan and China's reactions, a majority of them think the tough stand taken by army will instil fear in the minds of other countries where militants are hiding.
While 11,125 (86.66%) answered in affirmative, altogether 1,342 (10.45%) voters said 'no'. Just 370 of the respondents said they did not have any opinion on the matter.
Environment minister Prakash Javadekar also said it was a message to all terrorists. "The military's action against insurgents, with assistance from the Myanmarese government, speaks volumes about India's resolve to fight terror. This is a lesson and a message to all the terror groups that India will not hesitate in going beyond its geographical borders to eliminate terrorists."
After a day of fast-paced developments, Myanmar said in the night that Indian forces had carried out an attack on insurgents inside its territory, adding it would not tolerate rebel groups using its soil to attack neighbours.
In a Facebook post, Zaw Htay, director of Myanmar's presidential office, said: "According to the information sent by Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) battalions on the ground, we have learned that the military operation was performed on the Indian side at India-Myanmar border."
"Myanmar will not accept any foreigner who attacks neighbouring countries in the back and creates problems by using our own territory," he added, after India media reported the dramatic details of how special troops went into the Myanmar territory and inflicted 'severe casualties' on the militants.
In late 2010, Indian and Myanmarese officials had decided during a meeting in Mizoram that Indian security forces could enter Myanmar to hunt terrorists after taking permission from Myanmarese authorities.
A statement tweeted on Tuesday by defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said the operation was carried out along the India-Myanmar border after intelligence inputs on more strikes. It said India was in "close cooperation" with Myanmar.
Also, India's national security advisor Ajit Doval will visit Myanmar shortly to ramp up anti-terror operations.
However, after Myanmar's statement, HT asked its readers whether the government should explain how the army operation against northeast militants was carried out.
And voters backed the army. Of the 3,703 votes received till 11:30am -- the poll was published at 10:20pm on Wednesday -- 2,047 (66.61%) said there was no need for an explanation.
While 976 (31.76%) of the respondents said the government should come up with an explanation, another 50 voters said they did not have any opinion.