(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)
Sixty-fifth day of the Kashmir crisis has passed, perhaps, as a footnote in the history – 78 protesting and stone pelting youth dead; and thousands injured due to their own will or making.
Yet, there is no light at the end of tunnel for normalcy and peace in South Kashmir. Why?
The reason is simple. ALL sides are engaged in a fierce struggle to gain an “edge” or “win” over the other in the grim “Battle of Stone Pelting” on the streets and terror strikes elsewhere on the security forces in J & K.
As per the lesson of counter insurgency, even if the separatist forces do not lose, they can win in a long term context.
In contrast, even if the security forces win, they lose due mostly to political confusion or bankruptcy that continues to prevail in New Delhi.
Equally important is the lesson of history of such crises elsewhere in the world in the post World War II scenarios.
The ultimate results rest on what I call the “PUNISHMENT WITHSTANDING CAPABILITY” of all actors on both sides.
In reality, the battle is the “TEST of WILLS” – Punishment withstanding capability of the State vs. the Separatists and their external allies.
The larger component of the Society as usual is caught in between and suffers the most due to their muted postures under fear of survival.
The nexus or umbilical cord between the “Separatists” in the valley and their allies across the border is very well established. The allies include: Pakistan State, Army and the ISI; HM, LeT and other Kashmiri militant groups waiting in safe havens across the border; financial supporters from other parts of the world; Chinese diplomatic ambiguity; and radical Islamist groups elsewhere.
Viewed holistically, India has demonstrated that it posses abundant “Punishment Withstanding Capability” over the past 69 year ongoing Kashmir war.
Indian “Political Will” stands unequivocally expressed with the unanimous resolution passed in the Parliament accompanied by dialogue attempts made by the All Party Delegation with all stake holders.
“No question of dialogue outside the framework of the Constitution” is the expressed will of political leaders cutting across the entire political spectrum.
If lesser powers like Assad regime in Syria can pursue its battle against very heavy odds, surely India with its military power can surely unfold its fury whenever ever its political masters decide to do so.
If the separatists and their allies want to continue the “fight” and suffer its adverse consequences, hurting themselves on the rebound, the Indian State will not wilt or cow down easily.
Kashmiri intelligentsias must also recognize irrefutable historical facts of the past. Are they not responsible for “THREE” Kashmiri Pundit and other migrations by use of fear and force in the past? That is, in late 18th Century and more recently in 1947-48 and in 1989.
If so, are they prepared to face and accept the prospects of a migration into POK held areas or Pakistan?
Let none suffer from doubts on the India State’s capability to wage “Proxy War” ad infinitum. Even pursue it into Pakistan where it hurts more like Baluchistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and POK.
None should ever believe that the Indian State lacks intellectual brilliance and resoluteness to cope with such simple adversity facing it today. Confusion, if any, prevails among the critics of ruling regime appearing in the media of all types, on the course unfolding in inner circles at Delhi.
Even now, the Indian State is only extending the “Velvet Glove”. If forced to do so, it will unfold the “Iron Fist” that would be disastrous to separatists but also to their allies across the border and elsewhere.
War as political means to achieve the desired end is still available; but only as the last option.
Diplomatic offensive or war is aggressively being pursued by both sides; but, it is only part of the vicious game. All that may end up is both sides may gain diplomatic support from their past allies and friends whilst some may remain neutral realizing the intractability of the crisis situation.
Pakistan must realize that if India had not launched a counter offensive against Pakistan all these years in the past, it was in the belief that a “strong and stable Pakistan” is vital for the South Asian region.
Now, that the situation is becoming increasingly vexatious in Kashmir valley, there is no alternative but to launch a counter offensive with full force to disintegrate Pakistan abandoning its past utopian policy.
In sum, the crisis situation for the layman, particularly the pseudo partisan media and critics, may appear quite confused or disturbing with ”No Light at the end of the Tunnel”. All one can say with circumspection is that there are no easy solutions to resolve vexatious crisis situations. One must wait patiently and pursue with grit and resolve to protect modern India’s national security with all its might.