The Pakistan-India relationship is in a tailspin, what with Modi’s landing in Lahore and now the gun battle at Pathankot. The attack will cement the official India position: that it will not talk about another issue until that of terrorism is sorted- Pathankot is another case in point.

Pakistan is in a catch-22. It has no control over these non-state actors that carry out attacks in Pakistan or India, a weak position in itself. And if it did have control, it would have eliminated these groups, something that we are finding hard to convince the outside world of.

The BJP in the past, at the time of Manmohan Singh, was very critical of any moves towards friendship with Pakistan and still is. Modi’s surprise visit was a surprise for everyone in India. The attack at Pathankot is just ammunition for the BJP now to say that it has tried being soft, it has extended a hand of friendship, and it has been repaid with a terrorist attack. The political opposition, like the Congress, is playing the part of the opposition and being critical of Modi’s friendship request to Pakistan. There is no centrist or moderate party left in India, which would be in support of peace with Pakistan anymore. We can assume that the thaw is over.

An attack on a military base is a very big deal, something Pakistan is painfully aware of from experience. The attack was clearly meant to be a reaction to the peace process- though Pakistan was obviously not behind it. We were the ones who wanted to talk. It was Pakistan, that less than a few hours after India had openly criticised Pakistan in Kabul and Moscow, welcomed Modi with open arms. The Jaish-e-Muhammad has taken responsibility and is a rouge group. There are many elements in India and Pakistan that do not want a sustainable peace, where the end result that is wanted is an all out war to eliminate the neighbouring enemy. Due to a supportive international environment India is able to hide its own mischievous non-state actors.

We live in a new world order, where no state has a direct line to any terrorist group. The time of strategic assets is over, and Pakistan has made clear with its military operations that its in earnest. Pakistan has vocally condemned the attack, but it is Pakistan that is being condemned in India. In such a climate, where anything overt becomes a problem for opposition parties and rogue elements, maybe secret talks and back channel diplomacy could be better way towards the peace process.