THE prime minister of India is at it again. In a series of tweets, Narendra Modi has hurled unsubstantiated allegations against Pakistan. Taking to the micro-blogging site, Mr Modi texted that Indian security forces had “neutralised” four terrorists from Jaish-e-Mohammad and recovered a huge cache of weapons.

His allegation has been rubbished by the Pakistani Foreign Office with the curtness that it merits. A spokesman of the Chinese foreign ministry, speaking hours after the tweets, also reinforced Pakistan’s positive contributions against global terrorism. It comes as little surprise that the Indian leader resorted to such wildly inaccurate allegations, without a shred of proof, in the wake of Pakistan issuing a well-evidenced dossier showing India’s state-sponsored terrorism in this country. The dossier has proof of how Indian intelligence agency RAW has been recruiting agents as well as training and financing them to carry out acts of violence on Pakistani soil. Pakistan has done well to share this evidence with important countries. Mr Modi’s response is weak. It is also clichéd.

However, it portends danger. Mr Modi and his hard-line advisers continue to revel in their belligerence against Pakistan. Such belligerence, they believe, is an extension of their domestic politics, which in turn means that their approach towards Pakistan is linked to the failures and successes of their policies at home. These policies are wrapped in anti-Muslim hysteria and have manifested themselves in acts of horrendous violence against Muslims. This naked fascism pollutes their thinking on Pakistan and is reinforced by their failures in India-held Kashmir.

The Balakot incident in which Indian aircraft intruded into Pakistani territory, and Pakistan’s swift and decisive response by downing two of their fighter planes shortly thereafter contains lessons for both countries. India should have learnt that Pakistan will hit back if its territorial integrity is violated; Pakistan should learn that India under Mr Modi will not refrain from such mischief. These lessons have consequences.

The latest outburst should be of concern to all, and should alert Pakistan to New Delhi’s intentions. Pakistan has successfully fought off the attack by India in the FATF and it is hoped that in a short period of time it will be taken off the grey list. Regrettably, across the border there are all too many signs of intolerance and obscurantism creeping into a society that is governed by a party which has made ‘ethnic cleansing’ a part of state policy. The danger to Pakistan is obvious.

The world must take note of India’s increasing bellicosity as it suffers from a thousand self-inflicted cuts of failures in occupied Kashmir. The contrast couldn’t be starker. Prime Minister Imran Khan has from his first day in office been offering a hand of peace to Mr Modi. The gesture has been repeatedly rebuffed. India should know that the desire for peace does not reflect weakness of resolve on Pakistan’s part.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2020

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