Pakistan is a unique country that has successfully stemmed the tide of terrorism. The decade-long struggle against this scourge has come at a phenomenal human and financial cost. Pakistan has lost over 80,000 persons and incurred a staggering cost of $125 billion. This struggle coincided with coming to an end, the decade long rule by venal politicians, who literally waylaid the country and robbed it blind. The often talked of second pincer aimed at rebuilding its emaciated economy and of promoting peace has been launched with vigor and élan by the new political setup under the astute leadership of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan. Unconcerned with the cacophonous voices of the opposition, the PM is doggedly pursuing the goal of attaining economic stability through attraction of foreign investment to realise the full economic and strategic potential of the country. The government’s effort has already attracted great deal of investments. In a decades time, the effects of these efforts will become evident. Unfortunately, these developments are perceived to militate with those of its arch foe India and other states, who consider such developments antithetical to their enshrined policies and doctrines. While the PM of Pakistan was hosting a high powered Saudi delegation led by Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, India stage-managed an attack on its troops in Pulwama, which led to the killing of 45 Indian soldiers at the hands of a Kashmiri suicide bomber. As usual, India without due ratiocination, blamed Pakistan for the attack. In spite of assurances by PM Khan to bring such elements to justice, albeit on production of actionable evidence, the Indian state machinery — duly complemented by the cavalier Indian media — decided to punish Pakistan.Once again India and Pakistan, the arch rivals in South Asia, and the two de facto Nuclear Weapon States are locked in a serious conflict. While the Modi government was working on a premeditated plan, firstly, to reverse the effects of its unrealistic policies on the vote bank in the impending elections and secondly, to distract Pakistan from pursuing its newly contrived economic policies and projects with unflinching dedication and thirdly to daunt foreign investors. The equally irresponsible Indian media without regard of the severity of the consequence began to spew venom against Pakistan. Perhaps for the first time in history, anchors began to discuss war strategies with retired army officers and together they suggested, quixotic solutions that could lead to serious miscalculations. All this war mongering led to the whipping of sentiments both against Indian Kashmiris and Pakistan. Vigilante justice was served to Kashmiris and other Muslims by burning their shops all over India, Indian universities expelled Kashmiri students thus forcing them to return to their homes in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). This wave of savagery also led to the stoning to death of a Pakistani languishing in an Indian jail. Other punitive measures included; banning of Pakistani artists from working in Bollywood projects, snapping of trade relations leading to colossal loss to traders on both sides, threatening to divert the water of rivers flowing into Pakistan and immediate returning of Pakistani visitors in India. With regard to the incident itself, this was perpetrated by a 19 year old Kashmiri youth (who had earlier been subjected to disgraceful punishment by Indian security forces), who packed over 350 KGs of explosive in a vehicle and rammed the Vehicle Borne IED into a convoy killing 45 soldiers. By now it is authenticated that the crime was committed by an Indian citizen, secondly, Lt Gen Hooda, ex Commander, Northern Command, India himself accepted the improbability of bringing such huge quantity of explosive from across the Line of Control and additionally hinted that the source of explosive could possibly be construction work going on at one of their highways. Now juxtapose the offer of Imran Khan to India to provide evidence of involvement of any Pakistani and his continued beseeching for giving peace a chance, with the contumacious Indian stand on punishing Pakistan and of closing all avenues of dialogue.Indian chauvinism will likely intensify under the ideology of the BJP, which if re-elected, will surely change the secular nature of the Indian constitutionTo turn his impetuous talk into action, Modi gave the Indian Air Force (IAF) the green signal to intrude into Pakistan. The IAF forayed and dropped their payload in haste and claimed to have destroyed a militant camp, killing over 300 of them. Sober analysis subsequently revealed it to be a fictitious claim. True to his resolve, Imran Khan ordered a counter strike, which though did not result in any casualties or any collateral damage, but the imprudent and reckless IAF chose to make another foray and paid with two aircraft downed and killing a pilot and capturing another. In yet another gracious gesture Imran Khan announced the release of a captured IAF pilot, but the puffed up Indian Government and the benighted media and public alike termed the gesture “knuckling under Indian pressure”.Pakistan, including other countries of the world, is awaiting diffusion of the prevailing tension. India for its misadventure and following military humiliation, is acting intransigent, leaving everyone including its saner elements to continue guessing Modi’s next inanity. With Pakistan’s mature behavior duly complemented by the international community, the current tension may diffuse, but what needs consideration is, how do we prevent recurrence of such situations in future? Before any suggestions are proffered let us briefly review the reasons.During the last four decades India assumed a highly conceited attitude and it will not be incorrect to say that the 1971 Indo-Pak war acted as a defining event. Since then, India has been claiming a larger than life superiority and invulnerability, especially viz a viz Pakistan. Such feelings of grandiosity will likely intensify under the ideology of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which if re-elected, will surely change the secular nature of the Indian constitution. If one casts a circumspect look at Indian behaviour since the Pulwama incident of February 26, one will clearly discern characteristics such as; unrealistic sense of superiority, obsession with success and power, unique sense of entitlement and absolute lack of empathy. This state of psychosis rests in reasons such as the desire to restore India to the glorious days of Asoka, actualising the irredentist concept of Akhand Bharat (reunification of India ) and the inveterate hatred for Muslims in general and Pakistan in particular. Meanwhile, Washington is thinking of using India as a counterpoise against China, which has added to Indian jingoism. In the highly polarized environment of South Asia, where a UN recognised struggle for self-determination has reached its final stage and India has decided not only to curb it with unprecedented violence, but to initiate a proxy war in Pakistan, has hurled the region into a dangerous situation. Pulwama and its aftermath has made it amply clear that an unrealistic Indian approach is a perfect recipe for disaster in the nuclear environment of the Subcontinent. The Indian PM has shredded to smithereens US political scientist Kenneth Waltz’s argument that, “States are not likely to run major risks for minor gains”. The world must realise that the irrational actors inhabiting the structural set up of the Indian Nuclear Command Authority are responsible for ensuring retention of strategic stability in the region, have displayed egregious disregard for sensitivities associated with the dynamics of employment of strategic weapons. In this regard, it is worth noting that some Indian analysts in the wake of IAF intrusion of Pakistan’s air space remarked that, the Pakistani doctrine of “full spectrum deterrence” has already failed. This cannot be attributed to media antics alone because some retired Indian Generals too were echoing similar lack of understanding of strategic understanding.The world must understand the rigid, unaccommodating and exclusive nature of political philosophy that the BJP government subscribes to. The BJP’s Hindutva ideology is contradictory to any rational behavior. Recurring interventions of important states may have to be a considered a rule rather than an exception.Taking this into account, countries must desist from providing India weapons and technologies that can possibly have destabilising effects in the region. Meanwhile, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Muslim countries in their independent capacity must exert all possible pressure on India. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates States can utilise their investment and other commercial leverages to influence and elicit cooperative behavior from India.If the US expects to prop up India as a strategic ballast vis a vis India, then China, which has high stakes in Pakistan, must not only promptly intervene during moments of crisis, but strengthen Pakistan in ways that will send daunting signals to New Delhi.This episode amply reflected upon the necessity of having political leadership with grit and resolve. Competing politicians must not only understand these requirements but gain understanding of issues beyond making absurd amount of money and that too through crooked means.Should the BJP get reelected, the Indian armed forces too will get radicalised and their hyper manic delusions will likely take the rulers and the forces away from reality, thus multiplying security issues in the region, especially those relating to maintenance of strategic stability. Pakistan must calibrate its responses accordingly. Meanwhile, within the bounds of reason, Pakistan must increase its responsiveness on issues causing concerns to other countries in the region. While keeping its responses ready against any Indian foolhardiness, Pakistan must retain its focus on converting the country into an area of strategic importance promoting peace and prosperity for the world at large. Additionally, the situation invites doctrinal review to ensure that Pakistan emerges victorious from a nuclear war, should one be forced upon it by circumstances. While it may seem ridiculous, it is believed, there will be little sense in inviting a second strike, as it will be devastating enough and we must not wait to receive it.The writer is a retired army officer with keen interest in security and strategic issues Published in Daily Times, March 7th 2019.