Islamabad, Jan 16: India Army chief General Bipin Rawat's remarks that his force was ready to call Pakistan's "nuclear bluff" and cross the border cannot "erase the core truth" that the two countries need to engage each other in dialogue, a Pakistani newspaper said on Monday.
Dawn, Pakistan's influential newspaper, in its editorial "Aggressive remarks from India" recalled the recent meeting in Bangkok between the National Security Advisers of Pakistan and India, which it said, suggested that the two countries were aware that a total breakdown in communications was "not desirable".
"But if hawks on both sides are to be prevented from dictating the tone and content of bilateral engagements, meetings held away from the media spotlight need to produce tangible results."
The daily said Gen Rawat's "hawkish and arguably reckless comments" appeared to suggest that the Cold Start doctrine had become a core part of the Indian military strategy against Pakistan.
"Crossing the international border is an act of war, and Pakistan would simply have no option but to respond.
"There is no scenario in which Pakistan can treat an Indian incursion on its soil as a temporary or acceptable move that does not merit a forceful and immediate response."
The daily said Gen Rawat's comments have underlined the dire state of Pakistan-India relations, further deteriorated by the Kulbhushan Jadhav controversy, frequent incidents of violence along the Line of Control.
"The difficulties are increasing and the opportunities for positive change are decreasing. Deep political divisions inside Pakistan ahead of a general election scheduled for later this year suggest that major initiatives in the relationship with India are unlikely until at least the end of the year.
"By then, India will be preparing for its own general election in 2019. If the last Indian general election is any indication of what the next campaign season could bring, BJP hardliners and sundry other politicians may explicitly base their election campaigns on anti-Pakistan rhetoric."
It said the political climate in both countries appeared to suggest that the bilateral relationship may at best stay frozen or could further deteriorate as there were no hopeful times for those desiring the normalisation of ties between Pakistan and India ultimately.