The morning of Thursday, September 29, 2016, was a defining moment in independent India's history. It was on this day that India showed its neighbor Pakistan and the whole world that it will no longer tolerate being messed around with. It also informed the world in loud and clear terms that the principle of "strategic restraint" was no longer cast in stone and India would do whatever it takes to protect itself. We had not crossed the Line of Control (LoC) even during the Kargil conflict of 1999. It always stood there like a Chinese wall, which could not be crossed unless there was a declared war between India and Pakistan. That myth has been destroyed forever. The LoC is only as sacrosanct for us as it is for Pakistan. Pakistan cannot go on violating its sanctity at will and expect India to maintain it unilaterally. If the LoC is used by Pakistan to launch its dreaded terrorists into India, we will seek out such launch pads and such terrorists and destroy them at the LoC or beyond it in Pakistan. A new paradigm has been established; a new doctrine has been enunciated which will stand India in good stead in future.
Pakistan cannot even shed tears at its loss. It has been caught in the act and it can neither admit the beating it has received nor deny it. Its predicament is like that of a corrupt official who has been robbed of his ill-gotten riches but is no position to admit it or report it to the police. Pakistan has been doing it since 1947 when it launched its non-state actors to capture Jammu and Kashmir; the same thing happened in Kargil but every time it managed to get away with it. Its non-state actors are actually its own soldiers who are deputed for such clandestine operations. The Pakistani army in uniform appears on the scene when it feels that it is winning, otherwise it does not own up the operation. It does not even accept the dead bodies of its identified soldiers who may have got killed in action. This is the fate of the soldiers of a rogue state and its rogue army.
We have done well on the diplomatic front too so far. But India should not remain engrossed with Pakistan for too long. We have to move on and do a lot of other things to further raise our standing in the comity of nations. Hyphenation with Pakistan must be avoided at all cost.
Having made history, however, India has also to be fully on guard. Pakistan has not responded so far, but it surely will. It will be a grave error on our part to let our guard down, now or ever. Pakistan is a mean and vicious enemy. It will strike, it is bound to strike, and in a cowardly manner. My own guess is that it will unleash a terror attack against us at a time and place we least expect. The festival season is a time when we must be on maximum alert. India must demonstrate that it will not be caught off guard. The responsibility is as much of the government as of the people.
India must tell every foreign interlocutor including the Secretary General of the UN that if they want to play a role, they should tell Pakistan to abide by the bilateral agreements it has signed with India. Terrorism will automatically stop if Pakistan stops sponsoring it and stops allowing its territory to be used or misused for this purpose. There should be no dialogue with Pakistan unless it puts a complete stop to cross-border terrorism.
A word for the advocates of peace with Pakistan in India: nobody wants war with Pakistan. But it cannot be peace at any cost. My quarrel with the so-called peaceniks is that they reserve their advice for India alone. Pakistan cares a damn for them or their counsel. The have not succeeded in their mission in the last 70 years. It is unlikely they will succeed now, but it creates confusion in India. Instead of uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue, we have had uninterrupted and uninterruptible export of terrorism from Pakistan.
A word for those who always warn us of dire consequences in case we take on Pakistan: no nation can be great if it lives constantly in fear. The last word has not been said on Uri and the subsequent surgical strike by India across the LoC. But whatever the consequences, a historic beginning has been made, the rubicon has been crossed; let us wait for the consequences with determination and fortitude.
The Indian armed forces have shown the mettle they are made of; the Prime Minister has shown the will power he possesses. Those who were trying to measure his chest must be looking for a new and much bigger tape.(Yashwant Sinha is a senior BJP leader and former Union Minister of External Affairs.)Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.