(1) The questions of "Costs": costs are almost entirely a matter of perception. How badly do you want a thing or do not want to lose that thing? The simple answer to the "costs" problem being raised here is that small scale terror attacks are attacks against this or that local population, and is not immediately a threat to overall political existence in power of the GOI and therefore not "costly" enough. I will come to the reasons as to why it is so in my next point. However the point to note is that the fundamental error being made by the Pakistanis to gauge GOI reaction is the false assumption that for the GOI and its supporting political structure, "attack against an Indian is an attack against India". Could the Pakistanis really be so stupid? I do not think so. It simply points to the possibility that the real masterminds by whom the attacks are ordered, have grown up in political systems where such assumptions are natural - or if their respective governments do not act so, ("attack against an X-ian is an attack against X") then such governments will be removed from power. So in my view, the real masterminds are brains situated in political setups outside TSP.
(2) Why does not the GOI think in terms of "an attack against an Indian is an attack against India"? : The answer again is simple. The post independence rashtryia motto has been "diversity". The completely fallacious expression "unity in diversity" has never been dissected to see whether it is at all possible or somehow rationalizable. Unity is never based on diversity, cannot be based on diversity - it is based on commonality. Within diversity, if commonalities can be found, only on them can unity develop. However the slogan of "diversity" has been used to increasingly fracture our society. Recognizing differences between people only serves to reinforce and perpetuate such differences. Since each diversification, implies further and further splits - and if each such split is "recognized" then each of them can serve as basis for a new identity and therefore political power. Ideally at the end of this process, it should reduce to the individual level - the best possible scenario for any government. Thus for the GOI, there are no costs involved as the theory of "diversity" has ensured that each such terror attack will be seen as against some particular locality, some particular subgroup and not against the whole - thereby incurring no costs for the GOI.
Interesting points - especially No 1 above.
I think there have been other miscalculations about Indian reactions to terrorism based on perceptions of India that seem to be common in Pakistan. Even today (judging from the remarks I find from Pakistanis on my deliberately provocative Youtube videos) it appears that a fair percentage of Pakistanis have been taught to see India and Indians in a particular light.
1) Total poverty and starvation ruled by Hindu caste based elite
2) Absolute hatred for all Muslims and the intention to make Muslims suffer and stop them from leading their lives as Muslims
3) The need to occupy and destroy Pakistan as shown by wars started by India in 1947 and 1965
4) Brutal putting down of all Muslim aspirations by a huge number of rapine troops in Kashmir, acts in Ayodhya and "Gujrat", and just plain luck in avoiding losing Kashmir in 1999
5) A fundamentally cowardly people who have been ruled in the past and are easily prone to getting scared when attacked.
These impressions of India have been complemented by counter impressions of Pakistani/Muslim characteristics. I say Pakistani/Muslim characteristics because we would only be discussing GIGO if we fail to acknowledge the fact that Pakistanis need to hold up Islam as the single differentiating factor between themselves and "Hindu Indians". Any attack on Pakistan by India is not just an "Indian attack on Pakistan", but it is portrayed as an attack on Islam by a bunch of fanatics like Amrish Puri and the Monkey brain eating hordes that Indiana Jones had to deal with in his Temple of Doom. The Pakistani/Muslim is sincere, reasonable and modern in outlook. He is brave, accepts all religions and people as equal, and when it comes to protecting his faith he cares not for his own life.
Attacks on India have been expected to spark off communal riots where the Hindu shows his normal tendency and massacres Muslims, and in turn the Muslim, outnumbered but fighting valiantly will take Pakistan's extended hand and create the true future of the subcontinent. Other minority groups suppressed by the Hindus too are to be given a hand by egalitarian, forward looking Pakistan. Sikhs, "Tamils" and the untouchables - who are part of the Naxalites, ULFA and other groups that are evidence of India's breaking up at the seams.
The reason I write this long list is that Pakistanis do not see India as a "normal state". Pakistani education has ensured that India is viewed only through the filters that I have listed above. When we are dealing with an entire population that has been taught to hate India - it is impossible to do business with them. They suspect you no matter what you do, no matter how good your intentions might be. And in turn they accuse Indians of harboring all the hatred for Pakistanis/Muslims that they display display towards India/Hindus. For them it is "self defence" . Indians are the oppressors and all talk of secularism is fake and designed only to put sincere and innocent Muslims off their guard only to subjugate them later and make them untouchable.
The dilemma faced by India in this situation is twofold.
1)Any "normalization of relations" is impossible because of the inbuilt suspicion among Pakistanis
2) Any aggression from India only exacerbates and "proves" Pakistani suspicions.
Under these circumstances, India cannot normalize relations with the Pakistani state as it exists. However it is always feasible for India to extend a "helping hand" to any sub-entities within Pakistan who seek assistance. Of course this increases the suspicion and hatred of India among representatives of "the state of Pakistan" - but there is no way that India can go about changing Pakistani perceptions of India. Certainly not by peaceful Gandhigiri and biblical "turning the other cheek" which are variously seen as cowardice or a sly trick.
The point I am driving at is that while Pakistan is mistaken in the effects of terrorism against India, I believe India is mistaken in constantly attempting to build relations with Pakistan like India might have with some other country. It is just not possible for the reasons stated.
The only option for India is open hostility and total non cooperation with Pakistan, amounting to conflict where necessary. For those of us who have followed evens through the microscope of BRF apart from having been Pakistan watchers for decades before that it is clear that ALL attempts at befriending Pakistan, Wagah border friendship, cultural and sporting links, bus services, train services, visas, exchange programs, talks - the whole lot are completely useless exercises.
None of these has
1) Stopped Pakistan from provoking war
2) Stopped terrorism
3) Done anything to improve the image of India as seen in Pakistan
4) Stopped the Pakistani state from doing everything in its power to bring down Indians reputation, economy and ability to exist peacefully.
India foreign policy regarding Pakistan is hostage to a western view where we listen to the US and other countries and take lessons on how to behave. India seems stupid enough to believe that India must behave with Pakistan like the US behaves towards Britain while in fact India should behave towards Pakistan the way the US behaves towards Iran.
My "prophylactic" anger in starting this thread is that these are all thoughts that Indians need to have in the absence of a terrorist attack. Any hostile thought that we have about Pakistan after the next terrorist attack will automatically be watered down by calls saying that we must not over-react in the shadow of an atrocity.
The thinking about Pakistan needs to be done when Pakistan is not attracting Indian attention. And the single lesson that I seem to draw from the issue is that we cannot have normal relations with a dysfunctional state and we gain nothing from that. A hostile relation ship that actually threatens Pakistan is the best posture - in keeping with both our requirements as well as Pakistani delusions. It matters little to us whether Pakistani nightmares about India seem to be coming true.
Brihaspati makes an interesting point about diversity. If diversity is so good and well recognised in India - why do we find it so difficult to see and openly accept the gaping gulf between India and Pakistan and stop pretending that anything good can come from normalizing relations with a bunch of thugs?