The Pakistani mindset has an organic linkage with the military’s domination of Pakistan’s polity. The Pakistani armed forces provide the physical and moral muscle to confront India. With Pakistan becoming nuclear, its capacity to confront India, despite other weaknesses of the country, can be sustained longer than might have been the case otherwise.
India has been unable to craft a policy that through threats of retaliation, engagement and deterrence moves the relationship towards a form of normalisation. In the last decade India has given priority to dialogue, overlooking serious Pakistani provocations, but without the expected results.
On the central issue of terrorism India has played for time, hoping that at some stage the problem may go away or become more manageable. In 2004, Pakistan committed itself to not allow terrorist attacks against India from territory under its control. As against this, India agreed to restore the composite dialogue. A clear linkage was established between dialogue and terrorism. This linkage was discarded in the years that followed as the dialogue continued despite a series of Pakistani abetted terrorist attacks against India, whether in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Benares or Mumbai. India played along in obscuring harsh realities by formally agreeing to delink the two by proclaiming in a joint statement with Pakistan at Sharm el Sheikh in July 2009 that action on terrorism should not be linked to the Composite Dialogue process and these two should not be bracketed.
Such a concession coming after the monstrous terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 was difficult to explain. If the assumption was that this would give the Pakistan government political space to try those responsible for the Mumbai massacre as a first step towards the elimination of terrorism from its soil directed at India, then that assumption has proved wrong. Pakistan has exploited every procedural legal trick to delay the trial.