Corps Commander of Indian 15 Corps, who is the most senior army officer in the Indian held Kashmir, told the Indian media recently: “The new strategy is to recruit locals and give them rudimentary training in the hinterland because the adversary (Pakistan) is not able to push terrorists across the Line of Control.”
His statement is an admission that there are no Pakistanis being sent to the Valley, a claim India continuously harps on. Then he does not and cannot explain how Pakistan is running the violent show in the valley if its access is blocked by the Line of Control. Is it through the Facebook, WhatsApp or cell phones? Simply, you cannot hire or recruit somebody to lay down his or her life for a cause unless the concerned person deeply feels about it and is aggrieved.
The concerned Indian media report quoting the senior army officer has made several admissions about the independence movement in the Valley. It says: “The demographic bulge comprising the youth is hyperactive on social media…. The new militant brigade led by Burhan – unlike the youth who took to gun in 1989 – is unafraid of revealing their identity.” For India it is alarming that more than 60 percent of the population in the valley comprises youth less than 30 years of age.
The report says the militants make their names and faces known and their outreach is wide. Quoting Tejinder Singh, Pulwama’s Superintendent of Police, it adds: “The videos are affecting the psychology of Kashmiri youth who spend hours watching videos uploaded by local militants and by Islamic State. Their only role models are militants with guns like Burhan. We haven’t been able to provide them with alternative role models."
Ex-CM Farooq Abdullah is also quoted. “Everyone is feeling choked because the political system has failed to deliver. The youth are looking at the nation very carefully and because they are educated, they first become militant in their minds."
The CNBC India in a comment categorically stated: “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prioritizes national security messaging as part of his reelection campaign, he's made controversial moves in the disputed Himalayan valley of Kashmir. That's raised fears of fresh instability in a powder keg region already prone to frequent eruptions of violence. Modi, still vulnerable from December's narrow election victory in his home state of Gujarat, is likely looking to rally supporters ahead of a general vote next year. Taking a hard line on law and order is one way to do so.
"Now that Modi is beginning to campaign for another five-year term as prime minister — and hoping to advance his party's particular interpretation of a more coherent and unified polity — part of his campaign strategy is to embrace a tough approach to the insurgencies within India and burnish his credentials as a candidate firm on security… That's especially applicable in Muslim-majority Kashmir, where Indian soldiers have been engaged in a violent crackdown against militants.”
The world’s leading geopolitical intelligence platform, Stratfor, in its commentary on the Valley believes, “Having shifted his gaze toward the 2019 elections, Modi is positioning himself as a candidate with unbending resolve, dedicated to redressing the nation's various security woes. Inevitably, this means he will revert to a tougher approach against the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir, hence his party's break with the PDP. And because the territory sits at the heart of the India-Pakistan rivalry, the space for normalization between Islamabad and New Delhi will narrow until at least after the elections.”
It adds: “From a regional perspective, the security risk of a military confrontation between India and Pakistan will remain high. And perhaps more importantly, the continued military rivalry between the two nuclear powers means that the prospect of increasing South Asian economic integration is dim, at least for the next year. Despite containing a vast set of emerging markets and being home to nearly one fourth of the world's population, the region has 5 percent trade integration, the lowest rate in the world.”
If only India could think about resolving the Kashmir issue!