Sushma Swaraj during UN General Assembly
Sushma Swaraj during UN General

Surgical strikes targeting "launch pads" for terrorists across the Line of Control (LoC) were held off to allow External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to deliver her address at the United Nations General Assembly. The emerging reports indicate that the apparent time lag in India's response to the Uri terror attack of September 18 was in order to respond diplomatically.

"We first focused on a diplomatic offensive. Sushmaji's speech was a key element of that. And that had constrained us for ten days," a source was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

The global platform of the UNGA allowed Swaraj to expose Pakistan's role as a sponsor of terror in her speech on Monday. On Tuesday, bureaucrats from New Delhi began the second step through isolating Pakistan.

Subsequently, after the Narendra Modi government decided to walk out of the November Saarc summit, support for India galvanised with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also declaring to do so.

The source added that after securing support, it was free to carry out the coercive option. "In all his statements, PM Modi had been indicating that he was with the armed forces. This was meant to boost their morale and prepare them for it," the source added, while saying that the orders were eventually dispatched on Wednesday.

Border skirmishes are expected to escalate in the aftermath of the strikes, but the fact that Pakistan repeatedly denied knowledge of any such strike suggests that it might not retaliate beyond a point.

"Pakistan's response will determine our next moves," the source said.