The assertion by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that those behind the terror attack at an Army base in Uri in Kashmir "will not go unpunished", has triggered considerable speculation about the options that India could exercise in the current situation.
A swift, surgical strike on terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(PoK) was among the options that figured in the speculation but experts also cautioned against consequences and the damages that an escalation could pose if it goes out of hand.
How, when and where perpetrators of the Uri attack which was attributed to Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM could be "punished" was a call for the country's political leadership to be taken very carefully, experts felt, although BJP's pointsman for Jammu and Kashmir Ram Madhav asserted that days of strategic restraint are over and suggested that "for one tooth, the complete jaw" should be the policy after the strike.
"Perpetrators of Uri terror attack shall be punished...," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
Some retired army generals also favoured a tough response from India.
Expressing outrage over the attack on an army battalion in Uri, the former generals sought urgent action against Pakistan, including keeping the "military option open" to deal with terror from its soil.
"We must have our military option open, if required to strike at certain places," Lt Gen (Retd) B S Jaswal said.
"Bring pickets, which have launch pad to the ground, raze them to the ground. The reason is that till the time it does not hurt Pakistan physically, they would not respect our decency," Jaswal, who was GOC-in-C of the Northern Command, said.
"Pakistan keeps doing it (terror strikes) again and again knowing that we would not take any action," Major (Retd) Gaurav Arya, who has expertise in Jammu and Kashmir security situation, said.
The problems in Kashmir are "systematically manufactured" at the GHQ in Rawalpindi, he alleged, adding "We must take immediate action. Stop trade with Pakistan, downgrade (its) Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status. The world must know we are serious."
Questioning the absence of two service chiefs at the meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh to take stock of the situation after the attack, former army chief Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhury said these actions were coming from Pakistan.
Retired Brigadiar Anil Gupta accused Pakistan of causing instability in the Valley.
He said the attack was "a matter of serious concern for India and is a desperate attempt by Pakistan to ensure the current turmoil in Kashmir doesn't end."
Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain said "preventing suicide attack is difficult, but damage control is always possible."
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that the supreme sacrifice of the 17 brave soldiers will not go in vain as he instructed the Army to take firm action against those responsible. Parrikar also visited the injured soldiers at the hospital in Srinagar and instructed the authorities to provide the best possible treatment.
Defence sources said that 3-5 soldiers have also been airlifted to the Army Research and Referral Hospital here.
Parrikar, who flew in to Srinagar, was briefed by the Northern Army and Chinar Corps Commanders Lt Gen DS Hooda and Lt Gen Satish Dua respectively at Srinagar and the operation launched to neutralise the terrorists.
The briefing included discussions on the soft points and how the terrorists managed to get in. Defence sources said possible "action plan" was also discussed about how the Army can respond to the attack.
Sources said the decision will be taken at a higher level on the kind of action to be taken but this would be highly confidential.
Parrikar has in the past said "individual or organisation" harming the country "should also receive the pain of such activities".
Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar hit out at Pakistan, saying it has reduced itself to "pariah" status in the international community because of its hypocrisy and its blatant sponsorship of terrorism and of terrorists.
Speaking to reporters after Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz raised the Kashmir issue here at the 17th Non-Aligned Movement Summit, Akbar slammed Pakistan for giving "sanctuary and support, both domestic and international to terrorists" and investing in the evil menace of terrorism.
He said India has lodged a strong protest in writing with NAM against Pakistan's "mischievous, malignant use of terrorism particularly evident even while the summit is taking place in the tragic incident at Uri".
"The tragic incident at Uri has highlighted Pakistan's desire to use poison instead of dialogue. We will never accept the use of brutality as an instrument in international affairs," he said.
"The incident in Uri is a grave incident and not only India but the world is aggrieved by it. Pakistan should understand that it will be given a befitting reply and no one will back Pakistan on this," he asserted.
Aziz, in his address as the Pakistan delegation head, had said "peace in South Asia cannot be achieved without the settlement of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council".
Akbar said that one of the important developments of the NAM summit was the fact that 118 nations out of 120 supported a stand on terrorism and wanted a working group on terrorism.
"The incoming president of NAM has assured us that terrorism will be high if not the highest on his objectives.
He supports the need for a working group. I think all countries understand that irrespective of what might be attributed as reasons terrorism is now completely unacceptable to the world community," Akbar said.
"Pakistan's inability to support the idea of a working group is further evidence that it has always been a sponsor.
If it was not a sponsor why was it afraid of setting up a working group," Akbar asserted.
Asked about Pakistan's continuous campaign of raising Kashmir on global platforms, Akbar said, "The world understands that our position in Kashmir is legitimate. It has the backing of history and equally important it has the backing of moral behaviour in international affairs".
"And that is why Pakistan's continuous invidious attempts to keep raising the issue get no traction. It's a voice crying in the wilderness," he said.Suggest a correction