The international community is absolutely clear that the timing of the Pulwama attack doesn’t make sense from Pakistan’s perspective at this stage, owing to high profile international visits & regional strategic in the making. The present South Asian scenario is filled with lot of risks, miscalculations escalations triggers and clearly, especially considering that the Modi government is about to go to the polls and the talks between the Taliban, US and Afghanistan. India fears that the Taliban influence could subsequently spread to neighboring Pakistan & Kashmir- and their anticipated rise could “sound the death knell for the Indian influence in Kashmir.” For now, by putting the blame of Pulwama incident on Pakistan, they would like to achieve more electoral mileage & regional strength- for an engineered attack- which time may reveal otherwise. The growing consensus in the Indian security establishment is that carefully-calibrated airborne strikes may be among the most viable options short of war. Indian Military Options in Independent Kashmir may be:

Misadventure for ‘shallow’ ground-based attacks

Deceptive effort with propaganda for occupation of some strategic heights along the LoC

Restricted but precision air strikes against ‘so called Islamist targets’

A.H.BHATTI,

Lahore, February 19.