Failed tit-for-tat policy

Six Pakistani terrorists were shot down in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir after a week’s efforts by the security forces following the October 11 attacks in which nine Indian soldiers were killed. While this is one side of the Kashmir story, on the other side is the offensives by terrorists/militants against non-locals in Kashmir, mainly the migrant workers who are sitting ducks there. The Pakistani-inspired idea is to make sure that Kashmir remains in the hands of Muslims. The Kashmiri Pandits who returned to J&K are also being targeted. Put together, a critical situation is at hand in the Valley. Hints are that the killed gang of terrorists in Rajouri had infiltrated from Pakistan under ISI tutelage and carried with them sophisticated guns from the armory left behind by the US in Afghanistan.
After the abrogation of special status of J&K in August 2019, things seemed to be changing for the better in Kashmir. With the Pakistani military intelligence unit, the ISI, achieving its aim in Afghanistan, it could now gain the confidence to take on India in more aggressive ways vis-à-vis the Kashmir situation. Al Qaeda is also being roped in to push the cause of Kashmiris in the Valley. Both Al Qaeda and ISI are working also to extend their devilish reach to other states like Assam to take up the cause of the Bangladeshi migrants there. Having gained the upper hand in Kashmir since late 2019, the Indian government can ill afford to let things drift there.
As a matter of state policy, India is always on the defensive when it comes to dealing with its neighbours. Despite India’s stronger might, its leadership allows Pakistan to rub it the wrong way. This was so constantly during the term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi via LoC firings and infiltration of terrorists, who are said to be none other than trained Pakistani army soldiers. While Pakistan is waging a proxy war for so long, what India did by way of its defence were minor “offensives” like the surgical strike or raining of a few bombs on “pine trees” in Balakot. Fact is, India meant much less than a tit-for-tat after Uri or Pulwama. This is being interpreted by Pakistan as a sign of India’s weak positioning. The time for even a tit-for-tat is long over. New Delhi must do well to understand this. In the present phase after the unfolding of new events in Afghanistan, the scenario is tailor-made for misery unless Delhi acts in a decisive manner.

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