March 8, 2019

‘Abhinandan’s release was a saving grace for both sides’

The following discussion originally appeared in The Hindu on March 8, 2019. An excerpt is included below, with the full discussion available here.

Have we reached a point of no return? Have the air raids into Pakistan been a successful advance in India’s strategic response to cross-border terror?

I think there are two significant departures. One is striking mainland Pakistan and indicating that India would not be constrained by only Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as a retaliation point. After all, we have had terrorist attacks outside Jammu and Kashmir in other parts of India in the past, so why should India be limited to PoK? The second is the use of air power.

What I do not think will change is any belief that this will actually deter Pakistan. I don’t think that terrorist infrastructure would be wound down tomorrow. So, in that sense, I don’t think it’s a departure. It’s part of an evolution. The one other change has been somewhat on the diplomatic front... the reactions of the U.S., Europe, Australia and others, and to a lesser extent the Gulf countries, in terms of accepting India’s strike as pre-emptive self-defence

Read the full exchange here.