April 2003 News

Three-pronged Strategy For J&K

28 April 2003
The Statesman

New Delhi: The government has adopted a three-pronged strategy to bring peace in Jammu and Kashmir. This includes initiating dialogue with groups which have eschewed violence and voiced desire for talks. The government is following a 'pro-active' strategy for tackling cross- border terrorism, accelerating economic development and redressing public grievances, the annual report of the Union home ministry for 2002-03 said. 'India has always maintained and reiterated that the resolution of all problems lies in peaceful means only and, accordingly, the Government has kept its door open for dialogue with different organisations-sections of people in J and K,' the report said. But it expressed concern at disturbing signals from Pakistan, fundamentalists who have secured a significant foothold in the recent elections and advocated a hardline on Kashmir. The report said pan-Islamic groups motivated by fundamentalist indoctrination and pro-secessionist elements interplay within the state added another dimension to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. The report also expressed concern over attempts by Islamabad to revive silk militancy in Punjab and the ISI has assured its commitment to the revival of the Khalistan movement. 'Terrorists based in the USA and Canada are keen to register their presence and they have been exploring possibility of engineering attacks on political functionaries.' Emphasising that Islamabad's hand was discernible in militant activities in J&K, the report said content analysis of signal traffic had revealed that communication controls from Pak-PoK are still passing instructions to give strategic and tactical guidance to terrorists on the ground, coordinating logistics, executing operational plans and relaying provocative speeches of their religious leaders. The report notes that 15 years of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir could be divided into three phases- the first witnessing the rise of 'Azadi' (pro-independence) groups, the second of pro-Pakistan groups and the third dominated by foreign mercenaries gradually taking over the mantle of terrorism in the state. Local militants were marginalised and asked to support foreign mercenaries who dominated the scene under the direct control of the ISI. Giving an estimate of 60 to 70 per cent the number of foreign terrorists operating in the state, the report says Talibanisation of Afghanistan had also encouraged die-hard fundamentalist elements among the terrorist groups. Terrorists also increased their activities in Jammu region of the state. The home ministry has said trends in terrorism during the year pointed to 'incremental use of suicide bombers' while the targets witnessed a change-over from civilians to military-sensitive targets, religious places and symbols of national power. The suicide attacks in quick succession in different parts of the world highlighted the strong linkages between different terrorist groups operating from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.


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