The decision of the Army and the government not to reduce the footprint of Rashtriya Rifles from J&K is a wise one. Political parties in J&K as well as some wings of the government have been pushing for a complete withdrawal of the Army. This has gathered momentum in recent months with many in the government impressing upon the political leadership that the claims of normalcy may be followed with action such as the phased removal of Army from the Valley’s districts.
Kashmir undeniably needs a peaceful time devoid of bloody militancy and random killings. Common citizens, like any other place, need peaceful and normal life with safety and security, education and job and all-round development. But the situation is still far from being conducive. The recent terror attacks on Army soldiers in Poonch and Rajouri are the indicators of this fact.
The third G20 tourism working group meeting under India's presidency will be held in the Kashmir Valley between May 22 and 24, despite all attempts by Pakistan to prevent the Indian government from hosting any such meeting in the Union territory.
Since the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A in 2019, Kashmir has largely remained peaceful. The Indian government has been maintaining that the strife-torn northern State was returning to normalcy. This is also the message the Indian establishment wants to give to the world by organising the G20 meetings in Kashmir.
Since the abrogation of Article 370 and announcement of G20 meetings in Kashmir, the Pakistani leadership, especially the Army, has been looking for an opportunity to create disturbance so that the global community continues to consider Kashmir as a disputed region and it is able to regain its lost ground in the region.
Also, a lot of development activities are going in Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370. The United Arab Emirates in investing heavily in Kashmir, more international delegates are coming to Kashmir, while tourists are also flocking to the northern State. This is bad news for Pakistan. It can’t see a stable Kashmir as it won’t be able to do any propaganda against India regarding so called “Human Rights violations” in Kashmir.
Moreover, Pakistan is witnessing a severe political turmoil, coupled with civilian unrest following the arrest of its former Prime Minister Imran Khan. If the situation goes out of hand and people start fleeing into India fearing Pakistani Army crackdown, then we could see thousands of refugees fleeing towards India. Indian Army has to be very alert in this regard.
Also, the Pakistani Army could resort diversionary tactics by triggering terror attacks in J&K to hide its own failures. If Imran Khan is rearrested and the protests boil on to the streets again like it did on May 9, then we could see a bloodbath on streets of Pakistan. This surely will spell trouble for India.
In all these circumstances, the decision of not reducing the presence of Army in J&K is a wise one and should be persisted with till situation across the border becomes normal, which is highly unlikely.
About The Author
Shashwat Gupta Ray is a multiple award winning Defence Journalist, and is the resident editor of the Goa-based English daily Gomantak Times. He has over twenty years of experience under his belt.
(Views expressed are the author's own and do not reflect the editorial stance of Mission Victory India)
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