Fresh from an FATF reprieve, Pakistan has repaid the trust reposed by the international community that it will clean up its terror act by going back to old ways within hours. The almost immediate escalation of cross-border firing indicates that Pakistan was just waiting for the FATF meeting to culminate before resuming overtly hostile actions targeting India. The Indian response through artillery fire directed at terror infrastructure in Pakistan is appropriate in this scenario. Pakistan isn’t going to be deterred by restraint on India’s part and the Modi government realised this quite early in its first tenure.

Yet the difficulty for India is that Pakistan, despite a bloody nose on several such occasions, refuses to let go of its obsession with hurting India. Since the revocation of Article 370 in August signifying the end of the Valley’s symbolic autonomy Islamabad is itching to do something, evident in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s melodramatic invocation of doomsday scenarios before world leaders. Even while its diplomatic push floundered, on a parallel track attempts to push terrorists into Kashmir Valley and stoke violence have proceeded earnestly. And with the FATF reprieve in its bag – at least for now – Islamabad may feel this is the time to pull the trigger.

With winter setting in and mountain passes going to close, the cross-border firing may be a last-ditch attempt to provide cover to would-be infiltrators. The need for paramount vigilance at this time cannot be overstated. There are no shades of grey when a country hosts and nurtures terrorists on its soil. It is unfortunate that China, Turkey and Malaysia are doggedly protecting Pakistan in forums like FATF. They are in line for international embarrassment given Pakistan’s unsavoury history as a terror host.