India’s saffron revolution is nearing completion. The orange hues of BJP have managed to avoid a hung parliament, relegated the opposition benches further back, and expanded the right-wing reach to traditionally west and south. The ‘landslide’ will be viewed by Modi and co. as a thumping endorsement of the last government’s internal and external policies. Observers here now wonder what Modi’s resounding re-election means for Pakistan.

Where it leaves Pakistan is in mire. Had the polls chastised Modi Sarkar with a reduced majority or a divided house, Pakistan could have expected a re-think in New Delhi. The BJP now has a reason to believe that their anti-Pakistan rhetoric is a winner. Modi’s consultants exploited the post-Pulwama hostilities to resurrect a fumbling election campaign. And the media managed to cheer even setbacks.

But now that the elections are in the rear view mirror, can one expect the rhetoric and actions to soften a little bit? There is little to suggest that might happen.

On the diplomatic front, the Modi government was already working overtime to label Pakistan and isolate it internationally. It has had some success. Americans now consider India, not Pakistan, as their strategic ally. Indian lobbying at FATF has also made things harder for Pakistan. China and India are wary of each other, but they tend to cooperate when Indo-Pak tensions spill beyond the margins.

Some observers point out that India may not undertake military adventurism because a) elections are over and b) it lost the last round decisively. But that would likely encourage India to beef up its defence capabilities. Traditionally, India has modernised its army with both eyes on China, but it has the effect of pushing up defence spending in Pakistan, which remains wary of India’s designs.

But facing a weak economy at home and a neighbour seven times large, Pakistan will continue to face a numerical imbalance with India’s men, materials and machines. The imbalance will worsen as US sets up India as a bulwark against China in the Indo-Pacific. Modi is probably going to go big on military spending, leaving Pakistan with a difficult choice of diverting more of its limited resources towards defence. That will set up the economy to under-perform in the long run as human development is ignored.

While India under Modi will be looking for opportunities to make Pakistan crack under pressure, it is also apparent that going down that route will destabilise India as well. With a mixed economic scorecard in the first term, Modi would try to get his stalled reforms agenda going in the second term. Active hostilities will make India lose business confidence and public support if things don’t end well.

Also, Modi will deploy anti-Pakistan measures when he has to win an election, not in the next few years when he needs peace and quiet for the economy to grow. As for Pakistan, it is already on economic tenterhooks. Both countries need to find ways to peacefully co-exist with each other. It’s bad luck for a country to have a large neighbour ruled by antagonist like Modi. But it is what it is, and hard to change.