What's going to happen to the India – Pakistan relationship?

More than any other question I have been asked, the central issue that everyone needs to be concerned about is that of the future of the India – Pakistan relationship.

If the mood of the people in Mumbai – those most affected – is anything to go by, we should expect a huge contingent of soldiers to make their way towards the border and eyeball their Pakistani counterparts whilst the international community goes into overdrive to avoid nuclear meltdown. However, the situation today is different to the last time – when the Indian Parliament was attacked.

Different for the following reasons:

1. The Pakistani Government has been quick off the mark to say the right things that may buy them some time. Last time, they also denied their involvement, but they didn’t give the same sense of urgency and importance as they have this time.

2. They fear the consequences of doing nothing. President Elect Obama has already indicated that he wouldn’t have any problems in standing over Pakistant to make sure it delivers on its promise to clamp down on terrorism. He may have made those comments in the context of Afghanistan, but these comments will also apply to these outrageous incidents.

3. India has succesfully managed to shed the much ingrained view that the fortunes of two were linked – the manifestation of this is that now we hardly hear about ‘India – Pakistan’ in one breath, but instead hear about ‘Ch-India’ or ‘India – China’. The successes of India Inc and the huge bank of goodwill that the country has developed is paying huge dividends today. India’s economic might overpowers that of Pakistan by a factor of mllions today and simply put, it is this realisation that strikes fear at the centre of Pakistani decision making.

For these reasons, I believe we will witness a much required and massive rebalancing of power and influence in the region. If there’s one good thing that these attrocities will have done, then this is it.