As the crisis draws on, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has tried to put at rest the rumours of war. He has pointed out that India is calling for the perpetrators of terror to be put away by Pakistan and their bases destroyed. War is not the instrument to achieve this goal. But at the same time, Pakistan is not seen to be doing enough; India's Foreign Minister has firmly asked it to meet its responsibilities. Separately, acting on their own, high US authorities have conveyed the same message to Islamabad. However, after what seemed a mildly encouraging start when President Zardari was ready to have his intelligence chief visit India, there has been a rapid backtracking by Pakistan. Let alone holding back its cooperation, Islamabad has questioned the evidence, cast doubt on the nationality of the terrorists, and tried to treat the issue in the familiar fashion of an India vs. Pakistan dispute. India has refused to be drawn into bilateral slanging that would feed such an approach. It believes, with good reason and with wide international concurrence, that the attackers came from Pakistan; it has identified others involved in the attack and demanded action against them, including uprooting the infrastructure they have established. Pakistan's evasions before these demands do not bode well and push many Indians, especially those in the media, to wonder where the present diplomatic thrust is leading, and to ask pointedly whether there are any other options available, meaning direct action of some sort. New Delhi has not been swayed into bellicosity by such pressures, as the Prime Minister's remarks demonstrate, and continues for now to place its trust in diplomacy, recognizing no doubt that bilateral threats and intimidation would inhibit the current ratcheting up of international pressure on Pakistan. India's diplomatic activity in pursuit of its goals is intensifying. Heads of Mission from a number of countries have been called home for a conference where they would no doubt have been suitably briefed and instructed to convey the same message to their respective countries that Mr. Pranab Mukherjee has voiced here - Pakistan is not doing enough; it must stop dragging its feet and it must deliver on terrorism-related demands. Meanwhile, Pakistan is reported to be mounting some sort of diplomatic initiative of its own, especially among Islamic countries. This highlights another issue, for it is evident that Pakistani opinion sees the matter within the enduring context of Indo-Pak differences: the famous 'hyphen', emblem of abiding discord, remains firmly in place. Thus a whole medley of hostile stock responses about India's intentions and its hidden purposes is to be found in Pakistan's media discourse. But India has moved on and is not comparably inclined to see the issue as part of the existential question affecting the two countries. Some measure of counterpart sentiment to what is rife in Pakistan is to be observed in the Indian media but on the whole, notwithstanding the sometimes perfervid performance of some TV channels, India has been more restrained: perhaps the shock of the event in India's premier city had a sobering effect, aided by the fact that the government has remained focused on essentials and has not tried to play on public sentiment. International interest in the Mumbai attack has also been markedly different, not limited to the familiar hand-wringing and undifferentiated calls to both sides for peace and calm, perhaps because this time the evidence of the Pakistani origin of the terrorists is too overwhelming. It is not India alone that has so concluded; US, British and other investigative agencies have their own assessments that point in the same direction. One important result is the reported recent tough talk of Secretary of State Dr. Rice to Pakistan's National Security Adviser in Washington to the effect that Pakistan had not done enough and must do more against the terrorists. Pakistan would also be well aware of its current economic vulnerability. Just a couple of months ago, inflation was at 25% and assistance from the IMF essential to avoid default. The immediate crisis has been tided over but the basic problems remain, and with them the need for external assistance. But the world is very critical of Pakistan's handling of terrorism, witness the UN Security Council imposing sanctions against some individuals and the repeated urging of major countries for more decisive action. Former Premier Nawaz Sharif has even raised the spectre of Pakistan being declared a 'failed state' if it shows incapacity to deal with its responsibilities. It is hard to imagine that with all these negatives piling up, the major donors on whom Pakistan must depend will continue to hand over substantial sums of money without insisting on a number of conditions. There are arguments on the other side, too, relating principally to the strategic requirement of the USA and the West in Afghanistan which point to an ineluctable need to keep Pakistan afloat. Whatever the outcome, whether or not economic necessity will compel policy changes in its handling of terrorist establishments, Islamabad will have to tread carefully to avoid further alienation of the donor countries. If there is a glimmer of hope for Pakistan that it may not have to submit to damaging demands, it lies in the record of ineffectiveness of international economic sanctions and the reluctance of the international community to take matters beyond a limit. Zimbabwe is a case in point. For a prolonged period, the world's most powerful countries have been lined up against President Mugabe, trying to force him out of office, but to no avail. Mr. Mugabe's iron grip on power has remained, despite sweeping popular discontent and unimaginable levels of inflation; now there is a raging cholera epidemic to add to the misery. There can be no easy outcome in that country, or indeed in Pakistan, so long as the rulers are prepared to resist necessary change, even at the cost of inner turmoil and decay. They can be confident that there will be no external intervention to force them out, and the internal opposition is too weak to do the job. Meanwhile, heated up nationalistic rhetoric and street demonstrations make their mark and push the government deeper into a corner. In these circumstances, one cannot expect too much from President Zardari, even though he has given many signs of wanting to develop a new and mutually beneficial relationship with India. Thus matters are not becoming easier and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has not concealed his frustration at Pakistan's evasive tactics. The crisis has become more intense and shows every sign of stretching out into the coming months. The chance of a genuine partnership in fighting the terrorists that flickered briefly at the start has been extinguished and Pakistan has reverted to a familiar adversarial mode. It is a dark and daunting setting for India to pursue the option of intensified diplomacy across the globe in order to attain the goal of wiping out the threat of further terrorist attacks from the territory of its neighbour. The writer is India's former Foreign Secretary