Tough talk gives Modi time to shape Pak policy

Tough talk gives Modi time to shape Pak policy

'PM weighed his options and exercised strategic restraint'

Tough talk gives Modi time to shape Pak policy
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to re-examine the Indus Water Treaty and the “Most Favoured Nation” status to Pakistan is to convey that he is following up on his hard talk directed at Islamabad, officials say.

Rejecting the calls for a quick military retort for the September 18 attack on an army camp at Uri, Modi has chosen a more strategic approach that should reassure his own support base as well as the mood in the country, without appearing to lose time and energy.

Aides said the prime minister would be involved in more such sessions with officials from various departments to look at the possibility of rolling out other measures that will step up pressure on Pakistan. Modi’s immediate concern is the internal security of the country as it heads into a festive period that begins with Dasara and concludes with Christmas and the New Year.

Accordingly, he has directed all the agencies concerned to go on full alert to thwart any strike on civilian targets. Any repeat of 26/11 attack on Mumbai or blasts in cities like Delhi could spell more trouble and further aggravate the public anger, as well as exacerbate things for the government to act militarily against Pakistan.

Top ministers and BJP leaders believe that Modi is “definitely” working on a sound strategy and will not let Pakistan go “unpunished”. They insist that the prime minister’s decision to appear to be pursuing the non-military options first is, essentially, to give more room and time to military strategists to work out their options on a foolproof approach that will minimise the cost of escalation on India’s side.

But these leaders, however, admit that they are not privy to what’s being planned at the Prime Minister’s Office -- though they expect some decisive moves to be launched in the course of time. “The PM has weighed his options and exercised strategic restraint at a time when public sentiment demanded immediate military retaliation on Pakistan,” said a top aide.

As the aide put it, Modi realises that a prime minister cannot act in response to public furore, and must factor the collateral impact in the event of a full-scale military offensive.
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