Get the tactics right

The militancy in Kashmir valley is rising at an alarming rate. The latest strike in Kathua district claimed the lives of five army personnel. This is a grim reminder of Pakistan-sponsored nefarious elements spreading their tentacles in the region and exposes the hollowness of the government’s claims on the restoration of normalcy. The Kathua attack, the fifth in the Jammu region in a month, pointed to both tactical lapses in the security apparatus and the scale of the challenge that has to be grappled with ahead of the Assembly elections. Kashmir Tigers, a shadow outfit of the banned Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Jammu region, known for its peaceful atmosphere, has been shaken in recent months by a series of ambushes on security vehicles, search parties and military convoys, particularly in the border districts of Poonch, Rajouri, Doda and Reasi, resulting in casualties among both civilians and security personnel. The back-to-back incidents reveal a clear pattern that Pakistani handlers are keen to reignite militancy in the Jammu region where it was believed to have been wiped out two decades ago. Terrorist handlers from across the border appear to have become emboldened with the way they have been able to execute the attacks at will. The terror attacks pose a complex challenge which needs to be addressed by both military and political measures. No terror challenge has been overcome by military means alone. The government of India will have to use both diplomacy and military together to end the militancy. The sooner this is done better it is for Kashmir. The long awaited assembly election should be conducted and statehood should be restored. This will pave way for peace talk at the ground.