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It is not that tough action is being taken against Pakistan only after the Pulwama attack. The noose has been slowly tightened over the past three years on many levels. However, some steps had obviously not been taken because it is a slowly undertaken maneuver based on impact assessment and progressive planning. Under the present circumstances, the process has been accelerated and intensified. A good step is the decision not to be ‘generous’ with the Indian share of waters flowing from Kashmir, which has been the case thus far. Although the intent has been declared but it will take time to build the dams and canals that will divert the water away from Pakistan. However, there are other measures being contemplated that may hurt India as well, which some feel do not make sense. The unwillingness to grant visas to Pakistani athletes, for instance, has unnecessarily rebounded on India, leading to its suspension by the IOC with regard to holding certain events. Similarly, as Sunil Gavaskar has pointed out, it is much better to knock out Pakistan in international competitions, rather than provide it a walkover by not playing.
Not that this current course of action is entirely negative. India’s revulsion for Pakistan even at its own cost should lead to forming of opinion in the international community about the whys and wherefores of a country as important like it taking such drastic action. There cannot be much of a future for any international body if it excludes India from its activities, particularly in the long run. Also, India should retain institutional memory of the stand taken by individual countries and organisations at such a critical time.
Pakistan is putting a brave face on the developments taking place as it cannot do anything else, but it has always recognised its weaknesses and been in fear of India exploiting them. This includes control of the river waters. In fact, however much the Kashmiri separatists might think the Pakistanis are their well-wishers, it is control over the sources of rivers that is actually the target. It has often been said that future wars will be over water and this present stand-off is a good example of that.
Pakistanis like to believe that they can push their agenda and India would be unwilling to go to war over it. However, as the initial Indian reactions to the Pulwama incident have shown, there are many more ways to the skin this particular cat. There are more such responses coming down the line.