The top political leadership is of the view that on Uri it needs to demonstrate that it can walk its tough talk on Pakistan and terror and show a “discernible difference” vis a vis the UPA. As the government weighs its options, there is also a realisation within that it needs to address the call for “action,” especially from within its core constituency.
A senior political functionary said that the government’s action could come as mix of military, political and diplomatic responses played out in a series of steps to turn the heat on Pakistan. Some responses, by their very nature, will also need deniability, a source said. For one, the government is certain that all four terrorists came from Pakistan and will soon provide names of these terrorists along with other details.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held several high-level meetings to take stock of the situation and obtain the views of the Army and Air Force. He has also apprised himself, sources said, of what several officers and experts, including those from the Army, believe should be the next step. The political message, a source said, would be clear-cut: “India considers an Uri kind of attack not just an act of terror but an act of war by Pakistan.”
New Delhi is well aware that Pakistan will try to mobilize international support over any strong action India takes but it believes that the death of 18 soldiers has sparked off a groundswell of support for tough action. It believes that even Opposition parties would be constrained from openly criticizing offensive militant action, covert or overt.
As for the BJP’s core constituency, it wants the government to take some action.
At the same time, though, the Army and NSA Ajit Doval sound a word of caution that a response to the Uri attack should be firm but carefully thought out. Within the PMO, there is a view that the Uri attack has hit Pakistan hard. And, in the process, further marginalised separatists in the Valley. It is also felt that recent events have also weakened the civilian government of Nawaz Sharif and for all his bluster at the UN today, the jury is out on how this plays out as diplomatic pressure mounts on Pakistan.