By K.N. Pandita
What can be the security scenario in J&K after US-NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of this year? The subject is widely debated in various circles in the country. It is right to keep an eye on happenings around us but we stand on our own to meet external threat and internal subversion.
Contours of NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan are unclear. Total disengagement of foreign troops in Afghanistan from action against Taliban-Al Qaeda combine in Af-Pak region is also a moot point.
Kashmir is in the game plan of LeT which is doubly privileged; it is the brain child of ISI and it has close links with TTP-Al Qaeda combine. The video footage, reportedly a call from Al Qaeda leaders to the cadres to move towards Kashmir, is more an ingenuity of LeT than anything actually emanating from Al Qaeda sources.
LeT and other jihadi outfits in Pakistan find moral boost in ISIS’ military gains in northern and north-western Iraq. They believe the time is ripe to whip up passions of their Kashmir terrorist cadres. At the same time, we should not close our eyes to the comprehensive military action launched by Pakistani army against the TTP in North Waziristan. The hard pressed TTP cadres are getting scattered. LeT, HUM, JM and other outfits active in Kashmir would very much like that the fleeing TTP warriors and their cohorts of different nationalities head towards Kashmir to refurbish their sagging cadres. It is possible that ISI would prompt the fleeing terrorist to head towards Kashmir and even may go to the length of providing them the logistics.
It is true that infiltration has come down this year in comparison to last year. It is also true that ten top terrorist leaders have been eliminated by security forces either on the LoC or in the hinterland in the valley. But that is not a strong argument to underestimate threat perception from across the LoC in its totality. We should not forget that sporadic attacks by terrorists have been occurring in the valley in recent months. We should also note that after the parliamentary elections and induction of a new government at the centre, Kashmir leadership of different hues, has been blowing hot and cold in the same breath. On the one hand they accept the verdict of the electorate and on the other they raise bogey of central government diluting political and historical profile of the State. The rhetoric of talking to Pakistan or that Kashmir is the most challenging issue before Modi government is all gimmicks to play safe with unsuspecting people in Kashmir.
The newly inducted DGP has assured the people that the police and paramilitary forces are geared to meeting any challenge posed by any entity in our neighborhood. Our forces have by now gained considerable experience of fighting a proxy war. We have also procured sophisticated equipment needed to counter infiltration, cross border firing and other hostile activities. More importantly, our security forces have built very strong infrastructure for collecting intelligence about the movement of terrorists, their hideouts and their plans to strike. This has become possible because the people in Kashmir are fed up with two and a half decade long terrorism, disruption of life and bloodshed. People want an era of peace so that their wards can attain good education and live a decent life. The government is providing all facilities to that purpose. Villagers living in border areas where Pakistani troops resort to unprovoked firing and shelling that take precious lives of our civilians have made it a point to move away from the scenes of skirmishes and support the army logistically. The mentors of militants across the LoC know it very well that it is not that easy to cross the LoC.
Apart from the response of the Director General Police of J&K to the questions from media persons, the GOC of 15 Corps has endorsed the statement of the DGP by asserting that the forces are prepared to meet any eventuality. Even he went to the length of saying that a contingent plan is already in hand if the forces are called upon to act.
Finally, it has to be conveyed to Pakistan that she should forget the dream of wresting Kashmir from the hands of India either by force of arms or by perfidy, be it infiltration or instigation. Pakistan should know that in case she fails to arrest the inflow of Al Qaeda or TTP or other so-called “non state actors” for spreading mayhem and anarchy in Kashmir or any other part of the country, she will be responsible for the consequences that will follow. She will be responsible for sabotaging peace and tranquility in the region. The matter will not remain limited to two countries because its regional and international ramifications cannot be overlooked. The ball is in Pakistan’s court, though, of course, we don’t fail to appreciate that Pakistan army is locked in a grim battle with TTP in Waziristan inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. We are not as much worried about the possible inflow of Al Qaeda as we are about the serious threat of jihadis to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan. Who knows we may be called upon by circumstances to lend our help to Pakistan in protecting her survival?