Just to clarify. I am not making a point that the GOI has handled Pakistan correctly. I am in agreement with your observation that the elite in India are held prisoner to what I call the twin myths
Myth 1 : A peaceful, stable and united Paksitan is in the interest of India
Myth 2 : There is no alternative but talks with Pakistan as they are a neighbour
In fact, I have written both here and in other fora about how both these myths have held prisoner our decision makers and been propogated for the last 6 decades and more to the general public in India. In fact, those posts of mine are more than 2 to 3 years old now.
In any case, the limited point I was making was that contrary to popular perception, even the USG has not been able to make Pakistan accountable for its actions. The reasons for why Pakistan is able to get away with its actions even when it has resulted in terror world wide and has directly impacted the national interests of the US could be an interesting study. As SSridhar mentioned, I may have got the time line of Pickering- Musharaff wrong, but the general point I was making is pretty clear from the several instances, including the allowing of Kunduz Airlift, that Pakistan has been provided a leeway by the greatest military, economic and geo-political power on earth to go scot free.
Reactive and inadequate as it may be seen, the GOI, since 1947, despite its many constraints and coercions from outside, has made Pakistan pay for their acts. The reasons why I brought this dimension to this thread are two fold.
1. Two highlight this hitherto unexplored facet in this forum, as many seem to believe that India is a weak and soft state that has no clue on how to handle Pakistan and equally strongly believe that the USG, in comparison, has made Pakistan pay when they have dared to act against them.
2. I agree with the other general observations made, that this thread needs to refocus on real issues of Pakistan, for example, the myth about their nuclear stockpile, the multiple myths about its economic and political stability, the growing disenchantment across the board from Balaochi Nationlists, Mohajirs, Gilgit and Baltistanis, Pakthuni Nationalism, dwindling control over Jehadi Army by the ISI and the pressure that the ever widening gap between India and Pakistan coupled with the Offensive Defence doctrine of India is posing to the viability of this artificial entity including its diminishing value to its benefactors.
We need to disabuse this false notion that the USG has the ability to punish Pakistan but is not doing so because it sees this entity as a useful vassal to counter India and base to monitor Islamic world. While they may be contributory reasons for their inaction, it does not in any way explain their recitence in punishing Pakistan even when it promotes terror inside mainland USA.
What else could be the reason? If a poverty stricken, third world, indecisive, consensus oriented power like India, has, from time to time, taken action and punished Pakistan, even dividing the country, why is the US and its allies with all their power, seem poweless when it comes to Pakistan. If they can bomb Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya on specious grounds, why do they not take any action against Pakistan? It is all well to talk tough like Armitage did, but the action on the ground is nowhere near that intent.
My point is that while GOI policy on Pakistan has many an issue, it is not an unmitigated failure nor is it unrealistic. To understand better, why India adopts such a policy, why even a Narendra Modi government is ready and willing to talk to these dastardly fellows in Islamabad, we need to get to understand what hold Pakistan has that makes even the US tread slowly with this artifical entity.
I myself do not know the answer yet. I want to stimulate thinking here so that collectively we can get an insight that goes beyond what is conventional thinking. I think this was something that BRF was able to do well in the past. I hope that this little attempt will elicit that kind of probing thinking that has made all of us better informed.
So now, I shall wait for the veterans here to get us back to a level of discourse that made this forum unique.