Reports from the eastern border suggest that India has all but decided to cancel the National Security Advisor (NSA)-level talks with Pakistan following the Pathankot attack. An Indian newspaper claimed that the Indian NSA, Ajit Doval said that talking would only commence after the Pakistani side submitted some results regarding the Pathankot attack. The government rubbished claims that the talks were cancelled, but at the same time stuck to Mr Doval’s narrative of waiting to resume talks after tangible results. With reports coming in from various sources including the Press Trust of India that raids have been conducted in various parts of Pakistani Punjab with an unknown number of suspects arrested and a report regarding the findings submitted to Indian authorities, it seems that the ball is now in India’s court regarding the future contact between the two countries.

India has drummed down its usual rhetoric of accusations against the Pakistani government and the establishment in the event of a terrorist attack, but the ‘results or no talks’ condition is essentially an ultimatum. The Indian government is naturally looking for answers, but finding the facts will require greater coordination through constant contact, instead of refusing to resume discussions until someone is there to take the blame. A hasty investigation which has seemingly conclusive results in the next four days is bound to be contrived anyway, with a scapegoat handed over to the Indian authorities to assuage the need to blame someone.

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that any individual or organization looking to cause harm to India should be paid back in the same coin. Parrikar’s comments regarding dealing with aggressors in kind, be they an ‘individual or an organization’ can be interpreted both ways; the fact that he specifically used the words ‘individual’ and ‘organization’ implies that the government is still not keen on directly blaming Pakistan. On the flip side, he also talked about unchanging attitudes of old enemies, which for the cynic might be an allusion to the age-old enmity with Pakistan.

The Indian government currently seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, because calling off talks after the unannounced visit will make it a field day for opposing parties, while proceeding as planned in the current scenario might draw flak from the general public. It is easy however, to see that the former will be seen as a greater error of judgment, because back-peddling is not easily forgiven in politics.