Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Prakash Singh/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Barkha Dutt was right in her Oct. 27 op-ed, “The India-Pakistan headache,” that India and Pakistan could pose challenges for the next U.S. president. However, they also present a great opportunity.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not reverted to some fire-breathing avatar of a previous self. Mr. Modi is still trying to balance the need for guns of national protection against the need for butter of economic development. Before surgical strikes in response to the killing of 19 Indian soldiers by what New Delhi says were militants from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Mr. Modi challenged Pakistan to a different kind of war: “a war on who defeats unemployment, poverty [and] illiteracy first. Let’s see who wins.” The Pakistan military, especially its Inter-Services Intelligence wing that controls covert operations, sees fighting India directly and through proxies as a primary reason for being.

A major challenge for our next president should be diverting Pakistan from its “bad terrorists-good terrorists” policy. “Bad terrorists” are those who attack Pakistan’s military, police and civilians; “good terrorists” are those who attack India. If Pakistan can be enlisted to fight all terrorists operating from territory under its control, there may be a chance for the different kind of war envisaged by Mr. Modi and the furthering of U.S. efforts to defeat terrorism worldwide.  

Raymond E. Vickery Jr., Vienna

The writer is a global fellow
at the Woodrow Wilson Center.