After weeks of sabre-rattling, chest thumping and cultivated machismo, there seems to a slight shift in the tenor of India’s conversation. Arun Jaitley, the Indian Minister of Defence, offered a hint of an olive branch camouflaged within usual threats. India, he said, was “ready to speak to Pakistan” and is “willing to normalise the relationship” but “there are a few red lines”; chief amongst them, making a conscious choice to either talk to India or the Hurriyat leaders.

Whether this is a genuine attempt by the Indian side to normalise relations, or just lip service to the pacifist, victimhood narrative, remains to be seen. Such disillusionment is warranted considering how Mr Modi, unlike Mr Nawaz Sharif, has made absolutely no attempt at peace. Instead of behaving like the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy, he is playing the role of a small time BJP leader; shamelessly warmongering, stoking hate and pandering to populist and nationalist notions. Is this strategy? The Defence Minister initiates peace, which India too sorely needs, while the Prime Minister keeps up appearances to milk every last vote from the population? In any case, Pakistan’s response should remain the same.

The attack on Wagah has hopefully driven home the point that despite the blast being on the Indo-Pak border, the real enemy lies within. With the military operation expanding to Khyber and the militant reprisal just being felt, an engagement at both borders is the last thing needed. It divides attention, thins troop deployment, stretches the supply lines, and reduces the efficiency of the anti-insurgency overall. Yes, Kashmir is a vital issue, on which a strong principled stance must be taken. Yes, the Indian “red lines” are unreasonable, seeking to isolate a significant stakeholder from any dialogue. But Pakistan must have its priorities straight. This chance at normalised relations, flimsy as it is, needs to be availed. Not only in the interest of an effective operation in the tribal belt, but for the sake of the innocent lives lost on both sides of the border.