Narendra Modi is in the hot seat and he has to answer...
India is angry again. India wants revenge for the cowardly fidayeen attack on the Army camp in Uri that has left 18 brave soldiers dead.
After Gurdaspur and Pathankot, Uri is the third major terror strike since Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode to power - promising that he will give befitting reply to Pakistan on the issue of terrorism, and “not offer biryani”.
In this context, many are wondering whether Narendra Modi, after becoming PM, has understood the reality that the nuclear-tipped eyeball to eyeball confrontation is a challenge that can't be neutralised with rhetoric.
He is in the hot seat and Modi is answerable to the nation. He has to deliver but is war – even as limited one - really an option?
More than Pakistan, can India afford a war at this juncture of its growth story?
Pakistan is a failed state – an oxymoronic creation of the two-nation hurry – that is getting eaten from within. The only elixir that is binding it together is the Army-fuelled anti-India sentiment.
With mullahs and jihadis having a free run in the country, Pakistanis decided to surrender and sleep with them and postulated the idea of “state and non-state actors”.
The terrorists who get funded, armed and feted in PoK before crossing over to India on their way to Jannat presents Islamabad a perfect alibi to needle India without taking the blame for it.
Aaah! So convenient...
On the other hand, India has no state-sponsored travel package to heaven and thus the state is the only actor.
In effect, what that means is that India will have to stand up and take onus for even a limited strike inside PoK – a land that was and remains rightfully ours.
The Indian Army has the capability to do it but can the political establishment afford it at this juncture needs closer scrutiny.
More importantly, the common man in India may be angry and want revenge for the killing of our soldiers but can the poor – and the middle class – afford the economic cost of war?
Also, given the reality, that Pakistan is not bound by any “no first use policy on nuclear weapons” as is the case - self-imposed restriction - with India, even a limited war may end up turning into a full-blown war.
And, given the geo-politics of the south-east Asia theatre, calculating the cost of such a war on a growing India may well go out of the calculator.
War with Pakistan may help Modi win elections but is it actually in the common good of the nation that has set its eyes high?
But does all this mean that we should continue to bear the insult and not value the blood of our soldiers?
With “Composite Dialogue” and “Confidence Building” losing weight as instruments of India's policy towards its troublesome neighbour and war remaining a risky proposition, is there a third option to tackle Pakistan?
Modi has blown the Balochistan trumpet – is there a hidden message in the buzz?
Modi is not going anywhere soon and the message may be just after the bend on the road to Muzaffarabad, that has now started to become visible....