Non veni pacem mittere, sed gladium.
India has not rejected the Pakistani offer to hold talks, but it has crafted a reply that is almost certain to be rejected by Pakistan. For example, the reference to vacating “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir” is deliberately crafted to insult the Pakistanis. Indian diplomats never use that term in public or in diplomacy. The language and the tone of Secretary Jaishankar’s letter show that the Modi government has made a strategic decision to stop Pakistani- supported terrorism and meddling in Kashmir. The letter creates the condition for India to issue an ultimatum, if Pakistan rejects India’s topics. Pakistan has the burden of making the next move. It cannot agree to talks on India’s terms because that would constitute an official admission of culpability. Pakistan might make a counter-counter proposal so that it does not appear to be responsible for the failure of the initiative. The Kashmir dispute is trending in a direction that can lead to war between India and Pakistan. Leaders in both countries understand that the Kashmir dispute has led to general war or limited war three times in the past and can do so again. The Indian leaders appear prepared to take that risk again. The Jaishankar letter is a test whether Pakistan understands the depth of India’s frustration with Pakistani meddling. The Indian leaders want to determine whether Pakistani leaders are willing to go to war again, risking destruction of the state, rather than abandon the so-called Kashmiri “freedom fighters.” The Indian leaders are in crisis management mode and are now exhausting low-cost remedies. If Pakistan rejects India’s terms, a next step would be the issuance of an ultimatum that Pakistan must halt cross-border terrorism or face serious consequences. If further escalation of the confrontation becomes necessary, Indian leaders will have confidence that they have tried and failed to solve the dispute using lower cost options and they have no other choice. The ultimate danger is that Pakistan cannot win a general conventional war with India. Pakistan’s survival and the survival of the Pakistan Army would require Pakistan to threaten to use nuclear weapons so that outside powers intervene to reduce tension. That has happened six times without solving any underlying problems. The Modi government is not likely to cooperate with outside mediation after India starts to mobilize its armed forces.The mainstream media doesn't bring that up in their news broadcasts, but it's serious enough. And that little line on the photo looks so silly and so small.