There is no doubt that the violations on the line of control are part of a plan of action. They have unerringly hit their target by suspending the peace process between India and Pakistan and killing all inclinations on either side to revive it. India has withheld the visa agreement and Pakistan its grant of the most-favoured nation status to India. There was even fear of the interaction between the two countries in New York degenerating into a war of words before it was rescued by some quick thinking at the last moment. The most troubling part is that India understands the game, but is unwilling to name it. That seems to be the reason for much of the frustration of Omar Abdullah, the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. His logic is simple. If mortar shells keep hitting security personnel, travelling further and further afield into India’s paddy fields and cow-sheds, it cannot but be an act of war that needs to be answered with an equally forceful retaliation. In the din of the election circus, Mr Abdullah’s logic is bound to find ready buyers among the Opposition, which has already asked for ten heads in exchange of one. But the government is still in a state of stupor. The closest that it has ventured to admitting anything akin to Mr Abdullah’s assertion is the Union home minister’s encouragement to the border troops that the whole nation is behind them. In more ordinary times, soldiers need not have been told the obvious.
All this only testifies to the uncanny sense of timing of those stage-managing the silent war on the borders from Pakistan. This is not only the best time to push infiltrators into the Kashmir valley under the cloud of gunfire prior to the setting in of a bitter winter. A pre-election time is also the best time to hit India (remember 2008?) soundly on its knuckles. It goes without saying that India has not disappointed, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, where the political dialogue has been in a limbo ever since a bunch of interlocutors did their odd little trip. India may still gallantly stave off the meanest of pushes on the border, but it may not be able to resist its resounding impact on the valley, where militancy is already reaching an alarming high. With more body searches, late-night raids and arrests to flush out the militants, Kashmir will soon be on its way to becoming the cynosure of the world’s eyes that Nawaz Sharif so wants it to be.