In February 2021, India and Pakistan announced a ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC), the de-facto border between the two nations in Kashmir. The valley has been a source of hostilities up till today.

India's response to Pakistani terror provocations has undergone a sea-change under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with New Delhi likely to use military force more frequently than ever against Islamabad, Indian geopolitical experts and an Army veteran said.

Indo-Pak Border Tensions

India and Pakistan are currently adhering to a ceasefire on the border, after signing a pact in 2021.

This led to a huge drop in the number of ceasefire breaches. 2020 saw 5,100 truce violations, which came down to zero in 2021 after the agreement was signed. Even in 2022, there were only three minor cases involving ceasefire infringements as the border largely remained quiet.

A recent US intelligence report claimed that military retaliation to any Pakistani misadventure — be it a terrorist attack in India or violence in Kashmir - is more likely under the leadership of PM Modi.

However, pundits told Sputnik that Modi’s government has managed to alter the perceptions of India's threshold for restraint while warding off a constant nuisance from its western neighbor.

This has been done by embarking on quick retaliation against any acts of terrorism and by strategically conveying it to international audiences and finding support as well.

Paradigm Shift in India's Counter-Terror Operations

As per Namita Barthwal, a researcher at the New Delhi-based military think tank, Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), India's response has indeed changed under Modi.

"The Balakot Air Strike in 2019 in retaliation for the Pulwama Attack and the surgical strike in 2016 attributed to the Uri Attack demonstrated a change in the approach to countering Pakistan's grey zone operations without escalating the confrontation to a full-fledged armed conflict," Barthwal said on Monday.

"India's responses succeeded because Pakistan's grey-zone operations brought about a paradigm shift in India's way of conducting counter operations that have affected Pakistan's cost and benefits of using terrorism to manage the asymmetric relationship with the country," she added.

Barthwal was referring to the surgical strikes India had conducted against the terrorist launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in September 2016, and the February 2019 bombing of a militant sanctuary in Balakot, Pakistan, by Indian Air Force fighter jets.

However, she urged the Indian government to remain careful about entering into a grey-zone conflict with Pakistan because it has an ambiguous nuclear policy and because the India-Pakistan conflict will not receive the same kind of aloofness from the international community every time as it did during the Balakot airstrikes.

Pakistan Unlikely To Precipitate Full-Fledged Conflict With India

Dr. Priyanka Singh, an associate fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, who is an expert on India-Pakistan relations, agreed with Barthwal's views on the matter.

"Under Prime Minister Modi, there are clear cases of swift retaliation against Pakistan's terror provocations - be it the surgical strikes in 2016 or the Balakot action later. The assertions by the US intelligence report, therefore, seem to be based upon this reality," Singh said.

She argued that India tackled and countered Pakistan's provocations in the past as well. However, for over more than a decade, India's choice to exercise 'strategic restraint' after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks has remained at the centre of discourse on how better India should approach Pakistan-aided terror.

But Singh reckons that in the present situation, Pakistan is unlikely to escalate the confrontation with India, particularly right when Islamabad is facing one of its worst economic crises.

"Looking at the broader geopolitical circumstances, given America’s half-hearted support, China somewhat sitting on the fence and Islamabad's (economic) crisis and, overall, the region’s shrinking turf, especially in Afghanistan, Pakistan is unlikely to precipitate a crisis with India," Dr. Singh noted.

Maj. Gen. Shashi Bhushan Asthana (Retd), a former Additional Director General of Infantry in the Indian Army, concurred with Singh and Barthwal, saying that the present government was "more proactive" in dealing with Pakistan.

"Certainly, we have been more proactive during the last decade or so, under the current government. Earlier, what was happening, was that since Pakistan became a nuclear state, there was a bit of hesitation in perhaps taking offensive action, expecting that there could be a nuclear reaction. But then this time around, the chance was taken," Asthana said.