The capture of brave heart Wing Commander Abhinandan whose courage and dignity in enemy custody is exemplary and who brought down their F-16 with his ageing Mig-21 doesn’t change anything. The real story is the paradigm shift in India’s policy. If Gujral Doctrine was pacifist and based on cordial relations with neighbours where we as the bigger power were to show extreme tolerance towards grave provocations, the new message is that our patience is running thin and we will hit you at the target of our choice whoever it is if you do not behave.
Our attack on Balakot terror camp of Jaish e Mohammad is a turning point in our policy towards Pakistan. We have used military options against their terrorists. Narendra Modi has gone where his predecessors feared to tread that it would lead to escalation. Pakistan was also in its nuclear comfort zone that India will not retaliate . That illusion lies shattered. By allowing IAF to cross not only the LOC but also the border Modi government has sent a strong signal that our patience is running thin and if you do not mend your ways and do not close your terror factory then we will also hit back. We will hit your terror facilities, infrastructure as also leadership where ever they are. Even if they are deep inside Pakistan, nothing is sacrosanct whatever the consequences . This is New India that Pakistan is now facing. We should call it the Modi Doctrine.
We have been an International gentleman for long. After attack on our Parliament we amassed our troops on the border to call them back after one year after spending crores of rupees and with significant loss of life. Again Vajpayee government was totally bewildered when IC 814 was hijacked. It could have been stopped at Amritsar but it was allowed to fly out eventually releasing terrorists including Masood Azhar who later started Jaish e Muhammad in Pakistan with head quarters in Bahawalpur. Earlier also after the kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed VP Singh government had capitulated and released terrorists. Its interesting that both times the CM of J&K was Farooq Abdullah who vehemently opposed it warning that the dam of terrorism will burst.
During and after the Mumbai attack of 26/11, Manmohan Singh government’s attitude was pusillanimous. Over 160 people were killed with clear link to Pakistan but the government just did not react. In his book ‘Choices’ ,on the making of India’s foreign policy , the then National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon has written that he was personally in favour of attack but “the decision makers concluded that more was to be gained from not attacking Pakistan than from attacking it .”
After repeated attacks including on Pathankot airbase we have now reached Pulwama. It’s again a test of national resolve ,the ‘Decision Makers’ are also different. Pakistan has been indulging in warfare which for them is low cost but now they have been informed that there will be cost to pay. India will not bow to your nuclear blackmail. Your policy of giving us thousand cuts will give you also some deep cuts. No one wants war , it’s a dirty word but the responsibility of keeping peace and good neighbourly relations should not be ours alone.