Indian state elections have concluded with BJP winning with a landslide victory in India’s biggest state, Uttar Pradesh. This means BJP will be able to form a state government without the help of other parties. In the previous Uttar Pradesh election, in 2012, the BJP won only 47 seats and thus, 2017’s vote is significant endorsement for Modi, the leader of the BJP, and the face of its campaign across state elections. The province has a population of 200 million, a figure larger than the entire population of Brazil or Russia – and this size of support means that Modi and his anti-Pakistan rhetoric is here to stay. The victory means a less safer South Asia.

During the election campaign, Modi received a lot of popular support for the fake surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC), which means that more skirmishes and fire will be received by Kashmiris and Pakistanis across the Indian border. The biggest beneficiary is likely to be Bangladeshi PM, Sheikh Hasina who will probably be the first to visit India in April, and their economy and security apparatus will become more linked with India’s aggressive foreign policy to malign Pakistan.

With official engagement between India and Pakistan already on hold, we cannot be optimistic that the Indian state will reach out to Pakistan. If attacking Pakistan is getting BJP the popular vote, then the issue of Kashmir and the decision to review and renege on the Indus Water Treaty will never be on the table for resolution, and Pakistan can only expect to be further antagonised.

Pakistan can expect more of the same treatment, and friendly overtures will not be reciprocated. Although the ruling party has given up on its plan to improve regional relations, restraint must still be exercised against India. However, this does not mean that Pakistan does not use every diplomatic weapon available to it to highlight India’s cross-border aggressiveness, the poor treatment of Kashmiris, and consistent attempts to use Afghanistan for terror proliferation across the border.