India has resorted to violence against Kashmiris for over seven decades now. It claimed a second’surgical strike’ against Pakistan and now has lost two of its fighter jets with one of the pilots captured then released. The core issue i.e. Kashmir and not terrorism; remains unresolved. India’s Minister for External AffairsSushma Swaraj has now urged de-escalation but Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly given free hand to the Indian armed forces. While there appears to be hope and scope for dialogue and de-escalation – escalation can still not be ruled out. Lately, western analysts have been suggesting the course of surgical strikes in response to what they assert would be always Pakistan-backed terrorist attacks in India. The world has seen how such strategies have panned out. In appeasing India and boosting its war machinery, these analysts have completely overlooked the potential of escalation while devising feasibility studies for Indian violence under literature like “No Peace No War.” They have also mistakenly identified terrorism as the root cause rather than the unresolved territorial disputes and unending Indian atrocities on Kashmiris in t Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoK). The Pulwama attack was a classic example of an indigenous Kashmiri movement’s reaction. In the midst of war hysteria from India, western media has completely ignored how the young suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar was tortured by Indian security forces previously. For the past several decades, the world has faced enough terrorism to understand how terrorist brands operate. Brands like Al Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS etc. have often claimed responsibilities for attacks they had nothing to do with – just to brandish violence and enhance their repute as ambassadors of violence. Therefore, the acceptance of responsibility by JeM itself is questionable.Pakistan’s military response was to ensure that India does not establish a new normal of carrying out any further surgical strikesIt is ironic how India tends to blame Pakistan for every single terrorist incident.This systematically strengthens Indian narrative against Pakistan, which ironically is accepted internationally without questions. Many such allegations in the past have been proven wrong after investigations . However, stories of initial blames continue to resonate, conveniently sidelining the facts. In all this drill, the possibility that the suppressed Kashmiris can resort to violence themselves is totally discounted. Indian journalist, V. Sudarshan, has summed up this history of violence begetting violence and noted that “The south western belt of Kashmir, right up to Srinagar, is restive, and likely to throw up more Adil Ahmad Dars the second they get the wherewithal. Given Kashmir’s narrative of violence, Pakistan doesn’t have to do much here.” However, amidst the war hysteria, saner voices that call for introspection are likely to be ignored on purpose. Pakistan’s military response was to ensure that India does not establish a new normal of carrying out any further surgical strikes.Following it, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again extended an offer for dialogue and investigation to settle the blame game. Now India has to decide whether it wants to take the route to peace and resolve the outstanding disputes or continue on the path of confrontation. PM Khan initiated his tenure with unconditioned peace overtures to India. However, PM Modi chose to play the tried and tested strategy of anti-Pakistan card to gain popular support in the upcoming general elections and stake the lives of over one and a half billion people residing in the region.It’s likely that India may opt for an another military misadventureto maintain a strong position in the upcoming elections.Durable peace between India and Pakistan cannot be established without resolving outstanding disputes and putting an end to violence in IoK. Else, it’s a vicious cycle of never-ending violence and ensuing blame game if India continues to fight the symptoms instead of treating the disease. Pakistan’s military capability may be limited; it is enough to counter Indian designs in the manner we’vewitnessed recently. The writer is a Visiting Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Washington DC and a graduate of National Defence University, IslamabadPublished in Daily Times, March 7th 2019.