Friday, 27 November 2015

It’s time for working solution on Kashmir

It’s time for working solution on Kashmir
In the past ten days or so we have had an Army colonel killed in Kashmir and a lieutenant colonel injured in a fight with terrorists. Both incidents occurred in northern Kashmir in the Kupwara area. The year had begun with a colonel losing his life at Tral in south Kashmir. It is evident that the incursions from the Pakistan side have been intense throughout the year, and attempts to push in armed extremists to spread mayhem in the Valley have gained in urgency of late as it is time for the winter snows to impede cross-border passage.

Commanding officers laying down their lives in the line of duty speaks of their dedication and this will inspire younger officers and also junior commissioned officers (JCOs) not to flinch. There has been a loss of JCO lives as well, and they are a critical link between the officers and the men. But officers dying is a clear sign that the fighting is regular and in proximity of where the Army is. The Army casualties are in addition to paramilitary and police casualties.

Given its current geopolitical situation, Pakistan believes it is in a sweet spot. For their own ends the Chinese have promised to spend billions of dollars in infrastructure-building in Pakistan. The Americans have offered Islamabad primacy in their political calculus in the Afghan context. These have acted as signals for the policymakers in Pakistan, especially the Deep State, to act against India with abandon.

This largely explains the rise in militancy in Kashmir in the past year and upping the ante by Islamabad. There appears to be insufficient realisation of this in India. It is time Parliament discussed Kashmir and Pakistan threadbare and asked the government about its proposed line of action and held it accountable.

It has been quite obvious that the Modi government has not come up with anything approaching a working solution. Its domestic politics in respect of J&K seems barren. The only significant announcements seem to be about return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley without ascertaining if they really wish to go back. For the rest, the government appears to suffer from complacency about the fact that it is sharing power in J&K for the first time since independence.

It is precisely when terrorist incursions are on a sustained high, and the men of our security forces are having to make the supreme sacrifice on a too frequent basis, even among the higher ranks, that we need to have the politics on the ground right so that the terrorist elements coming from the other side do not find a receptive environment in the Valley, and the new generation being lured toward extremism can be weaned away.

No comments: