Not even for a nanosecond am I second guessing ModiJi's strategy. This game has to change, and he set it motion to do so. I was just wondering as to what would be the longer terms game plan. Both operationally and strategically, thats all. But it maybe too early to speculate all that.
I think Modi has made his approach very plain, in his many campaign speeches as well as in post-election statements. There is no mystery, we just have to listen and assume he is stating what is actually on his mind:
1. Never be an aggressor, but never allow anyone to stare India down
2. Develop, improve, and make India a better country
3. Bring out universal values of Indian culture and free up Indians to own those values.
4. Based on those universal values, be always prepared and open to co-operating with anyone in constructive endeavors.
1 implicitly means we don't try to control anyone or make them "do" anything our way. We will be fine as long as they don't try to put us down, in which case they will be made to pay a price.
This approach defines his strategy for Pakistan as well as the rest of the world, including USA, China, news traders, or whoever. Everything else is operational detail.
It means that bad behavior by Pakistan will draw a suitable response calibrated to encourage the correcting of that bad behavior--as one might do with a toddler having a tantrum; e.g., the foreign secretary talks cancellation and now the "cancellation" of flag meeting. The government will have no interest in speculation over Pakistan's internal compulsions (and implicit alibi-making for such behavior) which makes it act in this way; such things will be left to the media, unlike during the Vajpayee administration--recall that during Kargil, George Fernandes was speculating that Badmash was probably blameless, and it was the military which was acting on its own. It would also have no interest in the innate character of Pakistan, its people, Islam, or a host of other things. It leaves those things to "the experts". Note the refusal to deal with the question in Modi's Zakaria interview.
It also sets positive expectations: Modi's statement to Zakaria about Indian Muslims' patriotism, as well as his statement to CFR about China's ancient and sensible civilization which would not like to get itself isolated--have to be seen in this light.
This approach and strategy won't satisfy everyone--I, for one, think there should be more aggression against evil forces. But Modi is the leader, and he is a leader who relentlessly focusses on the positive aspect of things. So, too bad for people like me. At least there is clarity and steadfastness of purpose, and focus on positive accomplishment.
What happens when the positive expectations are not met? Again, Modi's own statements give a clue. He is avowedly an optimist, a man who plans for success and doesn't worry overmuch about failure. That is the "gamble" of his administration--enough good things, green shoots will happen that those failing to meet positive expectations will simply be sidelined, and the national enterprise will simply go on towards its destiny.