Modi had 3 reasons to resort to this brinkmanship by either orchestrating Pulwama as a false flag operation or taking advantage of a completely indigenous occupied Kashmiri action in their fight for self determination and freedom!
1. Gain Political mileage for April elections.
2. Tell the West that Pakistan continues to sponsor militancy in occupied Kashmir.
3. Hence, Kashmir has been militarized and therefore we, India have to crack down harshly with an Iron fist. And when we do, please don't accuse us of human rights abuses, as western governments and organizations have been doing so lately.
But he grossly miscalculated Pakistan's response, as we did in Kargil, as well as the uncontrollable hype created by the Indian media. The latter putting him in a very difficult situation of now taking action. Pretty much damned if I do and damned if I don't.
So he did, hoping the "non-action on a deserted hillside will not provoke Pakistan to retaliate"!
But the reaction was sharp, swift and disastrous for India and its mad jingoism and media optics.
The damage to their collective national ego is colossal. The two downed aircraft and the two captured pilots do not show the massive mourning that's hit the Indian Nation!
What was planned as a cakewalk by Modi has turned into a terrible PR disaster and an embarrassment and humiliation of olympian proportions.
So he either suffers the terrible humiliation of keeping quiet after receiving a Pakistani backhander and kick in the curlies or he responds to save some face! My sense is that the chances of an Indian action are more than not!
And it is this Indian retaliation which is worrisome because here is where things can go out of control.
The most desirable action by the Indians is call it a cease-fire. But it seems that there are greater chances that the Indians will try and sneak across the LOC to attack an isolated Pakistani border post and try and bring back a Pakistani officer or two as captive, to even the score of the two Indian pilots in Pakistani custody and try and redeem the public humiliation they've suffered.
This can escalate to a much more large scale ground attack supported by Artillery, Amour and Air in Azad Kashmir or the Shakargarh salient, our most vulnerable defended area because of its peculiar geography.
We have to be vigilant!
They won't give up easily with all this egg on their faces and the abject humiliation they've suffered.