Bengaluru, Oct 10: Come November and it would become clear whether Pakistan wants to escalate tensions with India or reduce it. All eyes will be on Pakistan and India would watch with keen interest if General Raheel Sharif is given an extension or not. General Sharif is due to retire as the chief of the army in November.
Indian officials say that what plays out in Pakistan in November would be a signal for us. If the general is given an extension then it would clearly mean that Pakistan is readying for a major conflict with India. Going by the indications in Pakistan, the civilian government wants tensions with India to reduce.
However, the mood in the army is very different. General Sharif who nurtures a personal grudge against India would look to hit India and send back a message following the surgical strikes.
General Sharif also nurtures a personal grudge against India after he lost his uncle and brother in the 1965 and 1971 wars respectively.
What will Pakistan do?
On one hand there is talk that the civilian government wants tensions to reduce. India too says that it wants tensions to reduce, but also adds that terrorist camps across the Line of Control will be destroyed if they pose a danger to India.
On the other hand the phone conversation between the two National Security Advisors last week discussed de-escalation of tension.
India says going by the mood in the Pakistan establishment, they would be looking to retaliate. General Sharif in particular wants to strike back and this could be in the form of a military offensive or a terrorist attack.
While the civilian government is indicating that it wants a peaceful solution, the mood is not the same in the army.
Officials say that a lot would be known by November when General Sharif is due to retire. He had said some months back he does not wish to seek an extension. However, the situation was different at that time. This time around going by his mood, he wants to strike back and avenge the surgical strike.
The question is will Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offer him an extension. Unlikely for now say observers, but also add that if he is granted an extension it is a clear signal that Pakistan wants conflict with India.