Pakistan is back to needling India for no rhyme or reason. That too, even before the ink could dry on the joint statement the two countries issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met at Ufa in Russia. Islamabad even had the temerity to call the Indian High Commissioner to its foreign office to protest against the alleged “violation of Pakistani airspace” by an Indian “drone”. The protest was completely unwarranted as India had denied that it had anything to do with the drone. The pictures of the flying device that Pakistan shot down suggest that it was made in China. Incidentally, such drones can be purchased off the shelf by any of the plethora of non-state groups active in Pakistan.
In fact, the sabre-rattling by Sharif’s advisor on national security and foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, soon after he returned to Islamabad from Ufa should have been a warning of the things to come. It is not just verbal assault that Pakistan has been indulging in. It has also been allowing its armed forces to create tension by violating the ceasefire on the Line of Control. It is also back to mortar-shelling, hitting civilian areas in J&K. Naturally, it has evoked a sharp response from the Indian security forces. India’s standard defence policy has been to maintain peace on the border and the LoC. On several occasions, India had made it clear that any provocation from across the border would be dealt with severely. Islamabad should know that any adventures on the border would not go un-responded.
The incidents of the past few days are a clear reminder that Pakistan cannot be trusted. It seems to understand only the language of strength. In retrospect, it is a moot point whether India was right in initiating bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit at Ufa when Pakistan had no intention of keeping its word. Now that the Pakistani game plan of keeping India in perpetual suspense is clear, it should be wary of any further dealings with Islamabad. The Prime Minister is scheduled to attend the next SAARC summit Pakistan will be hosting. India should make it clear that before any bilateral talks can be held, Pakistan should prove its bona fides. If Islamabad gives the five-point Ufa roadmap a go-by, India can do little to save it.