When Narendra Modi, dressed in the iconic saffron of Bharat, anointed with the symbols of Hindutva, led massive rallies in India in the run up to the elections, many looked on with concern. On both sides of the border, they had good cause to be; propagating a strong Hindu nationalist slogan, heavily implicated in orchestrating the 2002 Gujarati massacre, with a history serving the RSS and the economic backing of affluent industrialists, he looked set to storm the Lok Sabha and dislodge the secular Congress. Circumspect himself, his party’s members drummed out populist and jingoistic anti-Pakistan stances. Analysts predicted a more robust foreign policy, strengthening of military capabilities and a stronger economy for India.

Those who hoped for the day that the two people could bury the hatchet and embrace each other were left disappointed. Yet all was not lost; the Dr. Jekyll of Narendra Modi, the pragmatic, diplomatic, economic strategist, might be able to see the benefit of increased regional cooperation. He invited the Pakistani Prime Minister to his inauguration, and Nawaz Sharif accepted. Himself an accomplished businessman, the Prime Minister’s stance on a stronger Indo-Pak is well known. A fragile ray of light emerged. Yet by the end of his visit, all the goodwill was draining away.

That ray is now consistently being throttled. On Tuesday, Modi visited Kargil – the first PM to do so since 1990 – and accused Pakistan of waging a proxy war in Kashmir because it had “lost the strength to fight a conventional war.” While the statement itself is oft-repeated in India, the significance of it being made by a sitting head of government, in an intrinsically sensitive location, is undiplomatic, undignified and reeks of non-reconciliation. The latter, unbridled machoism, has so far come to be a hallmark of the Modi administration. In India itself, his government is repeatedly being accused of inciting communal violence in UP. While Modi’s present policies were expected, his zealous ambition and haste to achieve them spells the doom of an already fading quest for Indo-Pak friendship.