“Modi government has been hardening stance against Pakistan for a few months now”


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Brookings India Foreign Policy Fellow Dhruva Jaishankar was part of a panel discussion on NDTV on the next steps for India post the Uri attacks where 18 Indian Army soldiers were killed.

Anchor: Politics does guide the decisions of all governments everywhere in the world. You can’t divorce politics from governance. How much is the BJP vulnerable to being a victim its own rhetoric from the past, from having promised a stronger response in the aftermaths of a terror attack than, say, the Manmohan Singh government did? 

We do have operations from the past that have gone wrong or not yielded results (Operation Parakram where 1800 soldiers died). Where do you see these options which are more than the routine diplomatic offenses but short of war.

Dhruva Jaishankar: You can turn the argument on its head: the BJP has much more political capital on the question of national security. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular does. In 2008 when Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister and there were a spate of terrorist attacks leading up to the Mumbai attacks, elections were round the corner, a government that was accused of being weak on national security and we you saw the then Prime Minister and his government take a position in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks for which he got a lot of criticism for, and yet it did not lead to a negative outcome for the Congress in the 2009 elections.

The current government is some ways is relatively more immune to public pressure on this issue.

The turning point for the government was now now, it was a few months ago when Pakistan tried to take advantage of the Kashmir situation. After the Quetta bombings, for the first time the Prime Minister did not send/tweet his condolences to the people of Pakistan, and also the reference to Balochistan in the Independence Day speech. So you see a series events where this government has been hardening its position [against Pakistan].

This video first appeared on NDTV, on Wednesday, 21 September 2016. The views are those of the author(s). Brookings India does not have any institutional views.