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India looks at economic and diplomatic measures

After surgical strike, Modi government looking at economic, diplomatic pressure

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Sep 30 2016 4:59PM | Updated Date: Sep 30 2016 5:01PM

India looks at economic and diplomatic measures

After Thursday's surgical strike by Indian special forces, Central government is considering new economic and diplomatic measures to bring pressure to bear on Pakistan, Indian officials said.


In a rare public acknowledgement, Indian officials said teams of elite troops crossed the de facto border dividing the nuclear-armed rivals in the Himalayan state, killing several militants it believed were planning to attack major cities.


The raids were a direct response to an attack earlier this month on an army base in Kashmir that India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.


Pakistan denied India had conducted raids on territory it administers and said it was not involved in stoking trouble in Indian-controlled Kashmir. It has demanded New Delhi produce credible evidence to back its claims.


Some Indian officials said the military was not planning further attacks or a major military offensive against Pakistan.


But they said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government was debating whether to use New Delhi's rising economic and diplomatic weight to squeeze Pakistan, a country one-fifth its size and with an economy seven times smaller.


"The objective is not just to go across the border and kill 10-12 people," said an Indian security official involved in the daily consultations since the Sept. 18 attack on an army base in the border town of Uri in which 18 Indian soldiers were killed.


"The objective is to bring about a change in Pakistani behaviour, and for that you need to move on multiple levels.


"The strategy will involve all instruments of national power. Military is only one of the options," added the official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.


Options under consideration include choking trade with Pakistan that takes place through third countries such as the United Arab Emirates, officials said, even though it is limited and in India's favour.


New Delhi is also considering building dams on rivers running into Pakistan and intensifying diplomatic pressure, hoping that it can show other countries how militants based in Pakistan impact the rest of the world, the officials added.