January 2000 News

Plug border to end militancy: Analysts

19 January 2000
The Hindustan Times
Arun Joshi

JAMMU: The latest announcement by the Center to go in for a major offensive in Jammu and Kashmir falls far short of a new full answer to the problem of rising militancy in the State which has affected almost all areas right from the borders to the interiors.

The disturbed atmosphere has had telling effect on the socio-cultural and politicio-economic aspects of the State. Continuing bloodshed has only added to the misery of the locals.

According to the security analysts, care has to be taken even while pursuing the military solution for the economic and other needs of the people. But, if the need result is peace, people are bound to side with those who deliver, as that would once again open new opportunities.

These analysts, who have observed the Kashmir problem from within, trace the current rise in militancy to the porous borders. "If infiltration stops today, militancy will end tomorrow", they contend. To bolster the argument, they recall how a drop in infiltration in the mid-nineties had laid the foundation for comparative peace in the subsequent years, till Kargil erupted. In fact, the Valley also saw a phase when militants had started surrendering, and the locals had once again begun to think in terms of peace. "Local support comes automatically when things show start moving in a positive direction", observe those who have known Kashmir for ages and studied the pattern of militancy for the past decade.

Security analysts are unanimous that two major factors have brought back the grim scenario in the post-Kargil period. First, Pakistan stepped up its offensive by pushing in more armed and trained men into Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, the weaponry used by militant sis ultra sophisticated. Secondly, the counter insurgency or CI grid, which disturbed with shifting of the 58 army battalions to the border areas during the Kargil conflict, is yet to be fully restored.

Now, even though the Center has announced that it would mount an extra offensive, the basic issue that hasn't been focussed upon is tighter border control. Vigil along the borders needs to be optimised. "Our worry is not dealing with the existing a number of militants in Kashmir, but the fresh columns that keep coming in", observed a senior paramilitary official.


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