By K.N. Pandita
Review of national security scenario by country’s top brass has focused on counter infiltration measures and terror funding exclusively in Jammu and Kashmir. Now the Ministry of Home Affairs has with it extensive as well as intensive input from all intelligence sources on security scenario in Jammu & Kashmir. The review has essentially taken into account various parameters of assessing comparative decline in militancy related incidents during 2011 in the State. Noting that the assessment of security top brass has to be given due credence for policy formulation process, there could be other factors as well contributing to gradual downslide in militancy related incidents. Foremost are a slew of new strategies adopted by the army in countering infiltration at vulnerable sites into our side of the LoC.
In the security meeting called by the MHA, it was revealed that the attempts of infiltration by militants camping along the LoC on PoK side or international border did not come down during 2011 but these were thwarted at the very beginning. It means that the army and intelligence chapters drawn from all sources have fine-tuned their strategy of meeting the menace of infiltration. Of course, the use of new information technology for intelligence gathering, or introduction of sophisticated counter infiltration techniques, have to be credited as the brain child of planners at the Northern Command. But it has to be remembered that we have a long line of control in J&K, mostly mountainous running over the rugged and snow bound terrain. It is not possible to plug each and every vulnerable entry point and the infiltrators are desperate to sneak in through much less suspected entry points. All this makes the job of the army much more difficult and complicated. Keeping this security scenario in mind, civilian authorities whether in the State or at the Centre are expected to be very objective and realistic while deliberating on security scenario of the State.
Another factor needs to be discussed while reviewing current security scenario in the State. It is the deteriorating internal situation in Pakistan and emerging hiatus in civilian government-army relationship. Does it really impact overall contours of Pakistan’s proxy war in Kashmir or is the impact minimal in its intensity? This is debatable. But its one outcome can be re-stated with fair amount of certainty. The people in the valley are watching Pakistan’s internal crisis with a sense of concern. It is less Islamic but more Militant Republic of Pakistan. That is also the concern of policy planners and Pakistan watchers in our country. The concern raises disturbing questions in the mind of pro-Pak elements including the separatists and militant outfits in Kashmir. Our policy planners can and should capitalize on this mood of uncertainty among the people and refurbish the methodology of creating more conducive atmosphere for fortifying peoples’ trust in our security arrangement especially the army. Maybe our Army will need creating sustainable buffer which, while encapsulating it against adversarial depiction, effectively contributes towards its dynamic socialization with local civil society. In that situation withdrawal of DAA and consequentially the AFSPA from not only four but more districts will not become a cause of dilemma for any stakeholder. The army would be happiest to see more districts brought within the ambit of militancy free area. Focus should be more on border districts in both the regions of Jammu and Kashmir. In this context, it is noteworthy that the present J&K Government is taking serious steps in the direction of empowering people and providing much improved governance. Buttressing of security also means accelerating the process of physical and spiritual development of the state. By implementing developmental plans and by working towards good governance, to which the present government is pledged, the civil authorities will be helping in extending the label of militancy free areas to more districts. It will be to the relief of the army as well.
And as far as inflow of foreign funding is concerned, there are no two opinions that this kind of funding is greasing the cogs of the machine of militancy in Kashmir. Though some measures are in place to control the inflow but in all fairness the system needs much more to do to make it foolproof. There are many loopholes in juridical as well as operative arena like the clandestine practice called hawala that has not been busted. Let us admit frankly that corruption has seeped into the mechanism devised to control foreign remittances. Ministries of home and finance shall have to join heads to find a preventive mechanism that is really effective and foolproof.