"(The Hindu)The road from Pathankot.
• This attack on a military base has not merely highlighted India’s vulnerability to such attacks, but also raised certain fundamental issues for the leadership of the two countries. In the case of Pakistan, it raises the question as to whether Mr. Sharif has control over Pakistan’s India policy or not. Also, it seeks to convey that he is in no position to determine foreign policy options. Intrinsic to this is whether in the future a Nawaz Sharif can be relied upon to deliver. Also, there are huge question marks regarding his political calculus.
• Pakistan’s policy towards India has always been a bundle of inconsistent and irrational policies. This is further reinforced by the image of Pakistan as a dysfunctional state. The question, hence, is whether it is wise in the circumstances to embark upon major policy initiatives and risk further embarrassment in the future.
• This question is particularly important for Mr. Modi. His trademark has been personal diplomacy, often executed with energy and panache. It has produced good results, except perhaps in India’s neighbourhood. Vis-à-vis Pakistan, the brand of ‘yo-yo diplomacy’ has given an impression that the Prime Minister’s Pakistan policy lacks both depth and vision.
Need for a new doctrine
• New thinking should begin by reviewing and revising the current code of conduct for relations with Pakistan. This must involve adoption of a ‘minimalist’ approach, including limiting trade relations and restricting movement of people between the two countries.
• More importantly, India must evolve a new ‘Counter Force Doctrine’. Operation Parakram (2001-02) exposed the inherent weakness of a large standing army as a means to counter a terror attack, including ones as serious as an attack on the Indian Parliament. Alongside a ‘Counter Force Doctrine’, the Army must convert many of its static formations on the border into more mobile and leaner units. These should be capable of sudden and swift retaliation in the event of an attack, especially when directed against military installations, key facilities and critical infrastructure.
• Pakistan often accuses India of possessing a “Cold Start” doctrine, even though India denies the existence of any such doctrine. With a ‘Counter Force Doctrine’ and leaner and meaner units, India would signal that it is ready to swiftly retaliate. It would send the right message to the Pakistani deep state that they cannot exploit our democratic freedoms without facing retaliation. Once the situation improves, India could consider resorting to a step-by-step normalisation process, beginning with the resumption of Track II and Track 1 1/2 dialogues, followed by a resumption of backchannel negotiations, before proceeding to full-scale talks.
OTHER PRACTICE QUESTIONS