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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
Outlook.com

Dialogue, Not Revenge

Kanti Bajpai, Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Praful Bidwai and Achin Vanaik suggest a peace plan

Dialogue, Not Revenge
Dialogue, Not Revenge
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
It's evident that the "proactive" or "offensive" strategy launched by the government on January 17 to contain insurgency in J&K is proving ineffectual, even counter-productive. It has aggravated the Kashmir situation, increased alienation, encouraged human rights violations and made a major, extended armed conflict with Pakistan likelier.

The complacency generated among Indian policy-makers and shapers by President Clinton's visit only heightens that danger. Many Indians felt encouraged by his blunt talk in Islamabad to the point of supporting a jingoistic, militarist anti-Pakistan policy. However one interprets Clinton's statements, this course is fraught with danger and must be firmly resisted.

Strangely, home minister L.K. Advani on his first visit to J&K after the Chitsinghpura massacre felt the strategy of militarily "neutralising" the insurgency and "isolating" Pakistan had "paid off well". In reality, this strategy has spurred a huge military build-up. Indeed, its very function was to establish a second "unified headquarters" of security forces north of Zojila, strengthen offensive "counter-insurgency operations", establish "area-domination during day and night", raise the level of training, intelligence and operations in the entire 49-sector grid, and give village defence committees "sophisticated arms and modern communication equipment." This has drawn a predictably hostile response from Pakistan, with more frequent clashes and shelling across the LoC.

Inside J&K, this "proactive" strategy has meant intensive cordon-and-search operations, harassment of civilians, disruption of economic activity, interrogation of "suspects", "collective punishment" of villages, and increased "disappearances". Far from controlling militancy, the strategy has caused serious hardship to a victimised civilian population. The militants and their activities...

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