On 14th February2019, Indian paramilitary forces became the target of a deadly suicide attack in thePulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. The event instantly became India’s justification for an air offensive into Pakistani territory, spiking tensions along the Line of Control (LoC), and encouraging the latter to exercise its international right to self-defence. Amid a week of heavy confrontations, the Modi government’s handling of the LoC crisis isalarming. By marketing its adventurism into Pakistan as a move in the right direction, the election-ready leadershipappears to be pushing hard for a case against its nuclear-armed neighbour, while leaving the most fundamental questions unanswered. Indian claims of the Pakistani state’s involvement in Pulwama, based on “incontrovertible evidence”, is still pending proof. The idea that a democratic, nuclear-armed state, would arm and promote Kashmiri jihadis as part of a conscious security policy is a dangerous and careless assertion, with drastic geopolitical implications. Jaish-e-Mohammad’s (JeM)responsibility for the attack – a popular reference point in Indian policy discourse -provides zero evidence of this state-militancy correlation. Instead, it offers a comprehensivesummary of India’s continued military crackdown in Kashmir: circumstances that have pushed civilians towards armed resistance, anddriven separatist sentiment to a tipping point. Adil Ahmed Dar, the 22-year old suicide bomber, is one of numerous indigenous Kashmiris to have suffered abuse and harassment at the hands of Indian troops, prior to contemplating militancy. Dar was detained by local police in 2016 after being accused of stone-pelting – a routine charge giving Indian security forces a freehand in dealing with protestors. Earlier Burhan Wani, a youth-turned-rebel leader, cited similar abuse for joining separatist group Hizbul Mujahideen. It would be a grave miscalculation on India’s part to think that gross violations of human rights – stretching from pellet shootings and forced disappearances to mass arrests and curfews -shallnever give rise to an indigenous uprising. To the contrary, Indiamust embrace the inherent failures of its military-based security policy in Kashmir – one that has contributed to a growth in fighter recruitment among armed groups and sharpened their mobilisation in the disputed territory. It would be a grave miscalculation on India’s part to think that gross violations of human rights – stretching from pellet shootings and forced disappearances to mass arrests and curfews – shall never give rise to an indigenous uprising Interestingly, the association of “violence” with “Pakistan”helps BJP generate the perfect metanarrative ahead of its elections. It rode the wave of an”economic miracle” in 2014, cashing in on Congress’ tried and testedwelfare-orientedpolicies. Today, soaring unemployment rates and deteriorating income levels deny it that leverage. Thus,Modi faces an ever-growing urge to deflect economic shortcomings by capitalizing on a security niche: surgical strikes in Pakistan.By advertisinga notionof this magnitude, BJP can reclaimenough space to steer India’s lowest common denominator, andreactivate polarising politics to undermine Congress. BJP-ledhyper-nationalism achieved ample resonance with the masses over the past week: euphoric appeals to voters in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, media coverage lauding escalation, evacuation notices to select Pakistani residents, celebrity endorsements, and more Kashmiri arrests.Even more interesting is the fact that war-drums on social media underwenta drastic shift, after Pakistan shot down Indian jets and confirmed the arrest of Wing CommanderAbhinandanVarthaman. Twitter hashtag #Saynotowargained pace among celebrities, journalists and rights experts, right when the Indian government requested Pakistan for the pilot’s release. Precisely because of thesesudden shifts, it is imperative for Pakistan to walk the road to dialogue with India more cautiously. For instance, if there isanypossible evidenceto back Indian claims of Pulwamainvolving Pakistani territory, this evidencewould naturally make its way to the table. In the event that it doesn’t, India’s reluctance to engage in dialogue with Pakistan- as evident today – makes perfect sense. Moreover, Imran Khan has established himself as a proponent of peace and dialogue, and need not overdo it. Excess marketing of goodwill could easily undermine Pakistan’s national interests. To extend credibility to future developments, the invite must come from India. As of today, one of the key priorities for Pakistan is to have a communication plan in place for the Indian dossier. Regardless of the content it represents, the official Indian position is likely to contradict that of Pakistan’s, as the current stand-off reveals. For instance, a dearth of actionable intelligence could easily be played out by India as a “deliberate attempt”on Pakistan’s part to shield violent outfits. Because of these reasons, it is imperative that a rigorous review of the dossier is met with full public disclosure of the documents, and a timely Foreign Office statement. Ultimately, thepresent advocacy for peace on both sides of the border is a welcome sign amid rising hostilities. However, Pakistan should not mistake this interval for a complete lapse of BJP’s belligerence. Especially, when Mr. Modi’slatest memoryof Pakistan is not a favourableone, and it is well within his interests to end on a high note. The writer is a political commentator for The Diplomat Magazine, and LSE South Asia Center Published in Daily Times, March 5th 2019.