Can India protect itself from Pakistan-based jihadist groups? How New Delhi answers a 14-year-old suicide car bombing alleged by Jaish-e-Mohammed (Mohammed's army), who killed at least 40 Indian soldiers, can answer that question. One thing is already clear: With national elections this spring, Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets enormous domestic pressure to punish Pakistan militarily.
Valentine's Day attacks mark a sharp escalation of the conflict in Indian Kashmir, a majority Muslim province, both India and Pakistan claim. Since an uprising broke out there 30 years ago, no single event has taken so many lives. The use of a car bomb – an SUV filled with more than 600 pounds of explosives hit into a paramilitary convoy ̵
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The attack triggered an outbreak of grief and rage over India. Television channels showed crying widows through funeral parishes and flagged coffins worn by crowds of sorrows in villages and small towns. In nightly studio debates, pundits and retired generals demanded retreat against Jaish-e-Mohammed and its sponsors in the Pakistani army. Mr Modi warned that "terrorist suits and those who help and help them" will "pay a very large price for their actions." As usual, Pakistan refused and promised to act if it was presented with evidence.
Men who have left a Blood Trace in India – including the JeM founder Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba's Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, and the Underworld Don Dawood Ibrahim – Live Without Dad in Pakistan. Aside from the dirty cross-border types of small troops, India has not returned militarily to terrorist-protected ports in Pakistan or the troops protecting them. Since Pakistan acquired nuclear weapons in the 1990s, fear of escalation has hindered India's use of its much larger military.
Although linked by the United Nations and the United States as a terrorist group, JeM recently built a proliferating new training complex in Pakistan's southern Punjab province, according to reports in the Indian media. Mr Saeed who carries a US $ 10 million US government campaign for his role in the Mumbai attacks in 2008, killing 166 people, including six Americans, formed a political party that took part in last year's Pakistani national elections. Mr Ibrahim, who India blames for bombings that killed more than 250 people in Mumbai (since Bombay) in 1993, reportedly moved to exile in Karachi's lowest neighborhood.
"It is the public of everything that seems like a real front end to India," says Paul Staniland, a political scientist at the University of Chicago studying terrorist groups in South Asia.
New Delhi's inability to punish terrorists is increasingly in line with how Indian India's $ 2.6 billion is 8.5 times that of Pakistan, more than the difference between Brazil and Colombia, or between Germany and Belgium.
($ 110 billion), is almost twice the size of the entire Pakistan stock exchange.
Since the 9/11 attacks, Indians have become more aware of how other countries respond to terrorism. In middle-class living rooms, you often hear admiration for Israel's sustainability against Hamas and Hezbollah. And as India has drawn closer to the United States, it has received more international support. Last week, National Security Adviser John Bolton repeated the White House's support for "India's Right to Self-Defense".
Meanwhile, Pakistan's credibility in the West has fallen. Numerous analysts have documented the support of the Pakistani army for jihadist groups, including the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network, targeting US troops in Afghanistan. It did not help that Pakistan ended Osama bin Laden and has failed to judge a single person for the Mumbai attacks in 2008.
For many of his supporters, Modi's 2014 elections would mark the advent of a more independent India. A recent Bollywood blockbuster that was loosely based on a cross-border strike in 2016 in Pakistani Kashmir ordered by Mr Modi captures these aspirations. In "Uri: The Operational Strike", buffering and bearded warriors fetch an attack on an army army by killing dozens of terrorists in Pakistani Kashmir and returning home unharmed. India's domestically developed drones work flawlessly. Its spies make Pakistani ministers play state secrets. The Prime Minister and his national security adviser show silent determination and strong will.
In reality, China and Saudi Arabia are likely to counter Indian efforts to isolate Pakistan diplomatically. And JeM's recruitment of a local Kashmiri suicide bomber – rather than one from Pakistan – and the choice of a military target, highlights India's own mock human rights. "In view of Chinese opinion, this is more difficult for India to handle than a car bomb on a market," says Staniland.
But while reality may be more complicated than Bollywood embellishment, Pakistan would be stupid to underestimate India's growing expectations of its military and intelligence agencies. In the film, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval explains that this is "a new India" that "enters into their homes and kills" terrorists. It's entertainment, but with the choice closer, Indian voters expect real action. If the government does not defend its citizens, citizens can well choose a new one.