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Here is how the Narendra Modi doctrine has broken all psychological barriers and left Pakistan clueless

Is it beneath us to revel in the misery of a neighbour? I couldn’t care less. We have tried to treat them well, be good neighbours, for 70 years. Enough.

Among the “retaliatory measures” announced by Pakistan yesterday, and I kid you not, is a threat to observe Aug 15 as a Black Day.

Yes, you may burst out laughing.

What else has Pakistan got in its arsenal? For one, they are sending the Indian High Commissioner back home. Which can only be good news for him and his family? I hope he will be reassigned to a better, more livable country soon.

Anything else? Well, they are suspending all bilateral trade with India. That’s a big move for a country that is currently rationing roti, naan and possibly “timatar.” This will also mean that Pakistan will have to sell more donkeys to China in order to earn precious bits of foreign exchange.

Is it beneath us to revel in the misery of a neighbour? I couldn’t care less. We have tried to treat them well, be good neighbours, for 70 years. Enough. What is that colloquial Hindi saying about knowing the difference between those who respond to “laat” and those who respond to “baat“? Pakistan has richly qualified to be among the former.

So what else can Pakistan do? Stop some cultural exchange program with India? Review the Indus Water Treaty and decide to build a dam that will stop the river from flowing upwards?

Basically, Pakistan has been blindsided by what should be termed as the “Modi Doctrine.” Keep raising the stakes and calling the bluff of the other side.

For decades, we tried to keep our peace and avoid stepping on their toes. By acting crazy, Pakistan got away with everything. After every terrorist attack, we would call their diplomats, use some stern language and then send them home with a dossier.

Because we had so much to lose and they had nothing to lose, they could basically do whatever they wanted. This is the irony where the crazier party wins.

Modi’s solution was to call their bluff. We wouldn’t cross the LoC because we thought it would send the crazy Pakistanis over the edge. Even at the time of the Kargil War, we did not cross the LoC. But when Uri happened, India went right ahead with a surgical strike across the Line of Control. The response left the Pakistani establishment numb with surprise.

Then Balakot. After the Pulwama attack, the Pakistani establishment was expecting a second surgical strike. They had their Army ready to prevent Surgical Strike #2. They were waiting for it. As Modi later explained in one of his rallies, “Hum upar se chale gaye” — we went over their heads. We sent the Indian Air Force and bombed a terrorist camp not in PoK but in Pakistan proper.

Once again, India had raised the stakes. Called their bluff.

Now Kashmir and Article 370 are a purely internal matter of India, a fact that India’s principal opposition party may or may not understand. But as with many other things, India has come to expect a nuisance from Pakistan in our day to day lives, as with flies when we lay out the food on an outdoor picnic.

At one stroke on Monday, Aug 5, India moved to fully integrate Kashmir with the rest of our country. The Pakistanis, who thought they had built up some kind of pressure by meeting with the Americans, were left at a loss for words.

Each of these was just a psychological barrier: the LoC, the border, Article 370. And we have called the bluff of all elements, both domestic and foreign, who warned us of all sorts of consequences.

Did any country in the world speak in favour of Pakistan after Balakot? No. In fact, they got rebuked even by their Chinese benefactors.

Any significant violence in Kashmir after Article 370 was revoked? No! If Pakistan wants to jump up and down and make a fool of itself over India’s internal administrative affairs, it is not our problem. They say they are going to the UN Security Council. Fat chance they have there. The recent 15-1 thrashing to Pakistan at the International Court of Justice should tell them where they stand on the global stage. Has any other Muslim nation said anything against India’s move in Kashmir? No, but significant ones like UAE have welcomed it. The Chinese did make some feeble noises about Ladakh, but a stern rebuke from India sent them packing.

We are not a world power if we can’t do things unilaterally. The Modi doctrine is to act first and then ask the world to deal with it.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, when we keep raising the stakes, we take advantage of surprise away from terrorists.

What will Pakistan do now? Send more terrorists to India? But should another major terror attack happen, Pakistan no longer knows what to expect. How far will we go? Will the Indian Air Force strike Rawalpindi next time? Will we block the Indus river and finish agriculture in all of Pakistan? They don’t know.

We’ve had enough of them getting their way because they act crazy. They are not actually crazy. The Pakistani Army establishment wants to live just as much as we do. We know they don’t want to die in a nuclear conflagration. Now the onus is on them to think carefully before doing anything against us. Because there is no saying what we will do in response.

The finest part of the Modi doctrine is that it is permanent. No future government can now dilute this doctrine. Because public pressure simply would not allow it. After Pulwama, there was anger but also deep confidence among the masses. We knew India was going to punish them. The only question was when and how much. The sense of helplessness that was common in the old days was no longer around. No future Prime Minister can now deviate from this path, because people would hold them to Modi’s standards.

Hopefully, Pakistan gets it. Perhaps that’s why they are “retaliating” by observing Black Day on this or that occasion. Good to see that they are developing techniques for anger management.

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  

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