For Peace to Prevail

GENERAL Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Army's 15 Corps, Lt Gen D P Pandey, said on Monday there has been no ceasefire violation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir since the reaffirmation of the 2003 agreement between the armies of India and Pakistan in February this year, He added that some infiltration attempts unlike previous years have not been "adequately supported" by ceasefire violations by Pakistan. Lt Gen Pandey’s statement attests to the peace ushered in along the LoC by the February truce. The sudden announcement of the  agreement between India and Pakistan at the time had taken everyone by surprise. The truce came at a time when the relations between them had plunged to their lowest in the wake of the withdrawal of Article 370 in August 2019.  But despite the fact that the two neighbours have not been able to follow up on the agreement by engaging in dialogue, as had appeared likely, the peace on the border has held.   This is also apparent from the fact that there have been just two successful infiltrations this year, as revealed by Lt Gen Pandey.

As against this, there were 111 successful infiltration attempts into J&K last year, as was disclosed by the then  Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy in parliament. Also, last year, security forces had killed over 200 militants and so far this year around 163 militants have been killed in various encounters. But according to the existing figures, the number of militants continues to hover around 200.  If anything, these figures show that the militancy in the Valley has gone nowhere following the revocation of Article 370. Over the last two years, the security forces have achieved greater success in the operations against militants and at one time it appeared a distinct possibility that the militancy was on its way out.

But going by the rise and fall of militancy over the past three decades, such a prospect is unlikely to come about. The militancy in Kashmir has often risen from the ashes. Never had it come so close to extinction as by 2013 when the Valley had a little over hundred militants, only a small number of them locals. But from 2014 the number started rising again. In 2018, the most violent year in a decade, 271 militants were killed but it still didn’t make any difference to the ground situation.

Going forward, there is little indication that the militancy would cease. The simultaneous recruitment of the local youth in the militant ranks and the now shrunk infiltration from across the border invariably replenishes the shortfall created by the killings of the militants. And it will continue to do so unless the dynamic that animates the militancy is addressed. And this redressal is not in the killing of the militants but in a meaningful political outreach that has been sorely missing in the current climate. Ironically so, when the current establishment has the power to make such an outreach. It only needs the will.

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