Taking Stock of Pulwama Attack: What Are the Options Before India?

India has revoked the ‘most-favoured nation’ status conferred on Pakistan.

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After the worst terror attack on Indian forces by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad, India has revoked the 'most-favoured nation' status conferred on Pakistan. India also issued a demarche to the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi and the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan was summoned back.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, briefing the media after Cabinet Committee meeting said that India would take all possible diplomatic measures to ensure complete isolation of Pakistan in the international community.

However, with China consistently supporting Pakistan and blocking India’s demand to declare JeM Chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations.

At least 40 jawans were killed in a deadly attack by the JeM on a convoy of CRPF jawans in Pulwama’s Awantipora area on Thursday, 14 February.

‘India’s Measures Are Largely Symbolic’

Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation Manoj Joshi said, revoking of the 'most-favoured nation' status does not mean much since most of India’s trade is indirect via Dubai.

“We don’t have much of diplomatic leverage directly with Pakistan. Leverage can only come indirectly via Afghanistan, UN or China. The steps taken today are routine diplomatic steps which are important in their own place, but do not address the problem at hand, which is of dealing with Pakistan’s covert war against India.”
Manoj Joshi, Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation

Former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal reiterated Joshi’s remarks and said, the steps taken are largely symbolic measures.

“To change Pakistan’s behaviour militarily, we need give them a decisive blow, which means action with a great deal of escalation with the nuclear dimension there is to the whole scenario between our two countries.”
Sharat Sabharwal, Former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan

However, Sabharwal said the tactical problems have not resulted in the expected result. While they have inflicted some pain, it is just temporary, he said.

‘Military and Diplomatic Solutions Necessary’

Elaborating on solutions that are long lasting and feasible, Joshi said, India cannot resolve issues with Pakistan in the short term.

“The real challenge is complex, multilayered and requires both military and diplomatic solutions. Consistent punishment to Pakistan is important and India has not been doing that.”
Manoj Joshi, Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation

Talking about China’s role in supporting Pakistan, Joshi said, “It’s important to list terrorists but at the end of the day terrorism has to be fought on the ground. We have to fight JeM in a covert war across South Asia, develop ways and means of eliminating them. China supporting them is inconsequential.”

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