Who is to blame? The psychological push towards believing that we have arrived at a stage of peaceful Co-existence. Article 370 and the political dynamics proclaiming that J&K is resolved. The national flag flying on a high mast in Srinagar’s famous Lal Chowk. Opening of movie theatres and schools. Increased tourism, business and sales. Lessened actions by terrorists. Hardly any cease fire violations from across the LC.
It’s a fact that abrogation of article 370 has been a game changer, it’s a good move, but that’s for consumption of the masses. The national and the international audiences. For the army now the responsibility is double time. You have to maintain the advertised peace through minimum show of force and you have to ensure that you are part of the reclamation process. Over that you have to be relevant and whoever has served in J & K know the dynamics of success and on what measures it is weighed.
When the military mind starts believing that there is peace, the attitude to security becomes lackadaisical. Free movement becomes a habit. Patterns are set, individuals are not wearing their eyes behind their heads and buddy pairs also become ambiguous. Pyaaz, aloo aur tamatar ka kala thaila in the jawans hands become obvious and the rifle goes to the background.
The Kashmiri people are far too evolved, smart and mostly known to play sides that suit them, regardless of the national flag. To assume they will fall in place due to sadbhavna or projects as such is that biggest fallacy. They have lived with the environment of trying to extract the maximum from both factions the army and the terrorist organisations. They have survived and their guile has made them master crafters of assumed trust. You just need to turn your back to them, for most of them to stab you without honour and morality.
The fundamentalist form of a religion has hit them deep. They might die without food, shiver in the cold, the kids remain illiterate, when it comes to upholding religion as proclaimed by the maulvi in their villages. Hume toh Musalman ke desh jana hai is often heard in villages. It’s known openly that these preachers of hate are on the pay rooster of the ISI.
Denial is the biggest danger. Until Kashmir and Pakistan exists there is no peace. Until Islam is the motivator there can’t even be a solution. The security forces in the valley should leave policing to the police and the PMF. Get out to maintaining borders and prepare for conventional operations. Any action by the terrorists killing or damaging own people or property needs a response system that’s asymmetric. We need to develop that capability of striking what now is known surgically, at the centre of gravity of every incident. Strike for effect and impact. Hit where it hurts most. The leadership and the brains, not some terrorist camps and some three infiltrators. These should be part of the collateral, we need to decimate the master minds of the threat, maybe even before the threat is put into practice. Therefore we need to build intelligence, have well trained specialist troops with latest technology, manifest a fear of being and operate in invisible domains striking at the soul of the terror.
If we go about with business as usual, how we have been operating this far, with across the LC strikes only to garner a social media messaging we would have failed miserably in tackling the real problem. Terrorism has many forms and is like a multi headed snake. We need to therefore chop the neck, to make all heads redundant.
About The Author
The author is a military analyst & commentator on national security issues
(Views expressed are the author's own and do not reflect the editorial stance of Mission Victory India)
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