TERRORISM: Is There A Strategy?

This Post was in reply to a question on Quora written in September 2018. 

“With recently BSF Jawan’s body mutilated by Pak’s Military/Para Military, what should be Indian Govt. strategy wrt. continuous Peace talk invites by Imran Khan?”

Regrettably the recent incident involving the deaths of 40 Jawans of CRPF only goes to confirm the fact that India is yet to evolve a Policy or Mechanisms to contain state sponsored terrorism emanating from Pakistan.


The present situation is just a repeat of a dozen past events in the history of India Pakistan relationship.

First of all it is to be clearly understood as to what is ‘strategy ‘.

Strategy is a projection in long periods , of time, space and resources to achieve selected goals. Grand strategies are deeper and foresee conditions post achievement of goals and subsequent plans for activities and actions, to address the newly developing or developed situations.

Indian strategy insofar as The borders with Pakistan is concerned, should be to ensure its sanctity, by all possibile means from clear demarcation, assessment of forces and their types to be deployed, avail of diplomatic means to defuse awkward situations, contain adverse propaganda, calculations of deterrent forces and methods with abilities to match anything from minor incursions to major acts of aggression and psychological warfare. A great deal of strategic planning will depend upon patterns of past behaviour, present conditions and estimated future developments.

Certain facts are well known to us. Pakistan is a pseudo democracy, with the real power being with its army. Pakistani army dominates all major activities in Pakistan, including formation of governments, economic policies, foreign relations and security. Pakistani army ensures its dominance through its ability to project itself as the sole organisation that has unquestionable integrity (among corrupt politicians and beauracracy) capable of securing the country, It has perfected the art of keeping tensions on Indian and Afghanistan borders permanently live, to ensure that Pakistani populace is constantly in a state of subsurface panic and is willing to accept Pakistani army as a protector of the country.

This state of continuous tension on the borders in east and west is orchestrated through its terrorist ancillaries like JeM and Taliban. It also resorts to direct and open aggression from time to time. Any overtures for peace by civilian government as tried by Nawaz Shaif or Imran Khan is stymied by the army through its terrorist ancillaries. Killings on the LOC are carried out regularly by Pakistani army. *

Pattern is clearEfforts at talks are invariably followed by incursions and atrocities by Pakistani army and its ancillaries, ie terrorist organisations sponsored by Pakisyarmy and isi.Hulla Gulla in Indian media and withdrawal from ‘talks’.

This happens regularly. It could be that that India has NOT put in place a consistent strategy to deal with cross border terrorism.


Work on the predictable pattern to isolate Pakistan in international arena. Modi government appears to have succeeded in isolation of Pakistan to a great extent. America its staunch supporter over six decades is is less flexible than before. Indian equation with Arab states has improved considerably, and their blind support is not available to Pakistan any more.

*Ceasefire violations” by Pakistan along its border with India have increased nine times from 2011 to 2014, according to data tabled in the Rajya Sabha. The ceasefire agreement it refers to was signed 12 years ago.

As many as 1,106 violations were reported in the four-year period; 199 were reported till June 30, 2015.

Pakistani Ceasefire Violations Along India-Pakistan Border (According To India)

Year Ceasefire Violations Ceasefire Violations Along LoC Ceasefire Violations Along International Border

2011. 62 51 11

2012 11. 93 21

2013 341 199 148

2014 583 153 430

2015* 199. NA NA

Source: Rajya Sabha, 12 and 3; *Up to June 30, 2015

Excexerpts from Prakash K Dutta

“Number of terror attacks, ceasefire violations and deaths due to these incidents has been rising since 2015 consistently. The number of ceasefire violations was 152 in 2015, when PM Mod attended his counterpart Sharif’s family function on his way back from Afghanistan visit. It rose to 228 in 2016 and 860 in 2017.

  • There has been a sharp increase in the number of reported terror recruitments by the Pakistan-based terror groups in the Kashmir Valley – 64 in 2015, 87 in 2016 (when Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed) and 126 in 2017.
  • An estimated 360 terrorists are active in the Kashmir Valley with more than 200 coming from the local population and the rest from Pakistan.
  • In 2018, there have already been 240 incidents of ceasefire violations. Terror groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen are said to be more active in the past one and a half year. Several smaller groups have also received considerable support from Pakistan.

The trend suggests that the terror incidents and ceasefire violations have largely remained unaffected by the peace initiatives taken by India. The real factor is Pakistani establishment’s policy towards sponsoring terrorism in the Kashmir Valley.”


Why India Needs Kashmiri Pandits in its Parliament?

This is an article by Shri Rajat Mitra, A psychologist, from his personal experiences. His academic background and experiences accumulated over decades of interactions with scholars, individuals, families, and groups of different ehtnicty who have been subjected to extreme trauma in its various forms from alienation to genocide, makes him a unique observer and a presenter of facts in a simplified manner to the lay persons not well versed in psychological aspects.

Why India Needs Kashmiri Pandits in its Parliament?

My late father in law was very fond of telling me a particular story. It was on why he left Kashmir to come to Delhi and why he stayed back. All fathers have a story they love to tell their children as a legacy and he was no exception.

“I came here to become an officer,” he would proudly say. “Mujhe afsar banne ka bahut showktha. Every Kashmiri pandit boy of my generation wanted to become an officer. We Kashmiri pandits were a very intelligent race and took pride in being intellectuals. The sign of being a good Kashmiri pandit was that he would be able to get a high functioning job. For a long time we considered ourselves above the rulers in status. Kashmiri pandits are Brahmins. We would advise others and our history is full of intellectual achievements. We gave India some of its best bureaucrats.”

He would give the example of numerous Kashmiri pandits who rose to prominence being bureaucrats at the center and held the top posts.

It was after he had told me the story many times that I asked him when their community was so intelligent and ran the administration why couldn’t they foresee their exodus from Kashmir in 1990? Why couldn’t they see the mechanization of the Kashmiri Muslims coming and had to flee hearing the slogans from the mosques either convert or leave or die? He became sad and pensive. I realized I had unknowingly hurt him by asking this question. It was then he told me the second story. This one was even more poignant. It told me why he never went back.

“I had gone for admission for my BSc when I saw this list. On it was written the names of successful candidates. My name was not there nor was of any other Hindu boy. Below the list of the candidates was written: ‘The names of Hindu candidates if found eligible may be declared later.’ We went and told our parents. Then we all went to every official. No one said they could help us. Finally we met the Chief Minister and he finally allowed only a few seats. So we could study. That day I decided I will not stay back in Kashmir.”

“This was a clear case of discrimination. Why didn’t you fight back?”

“We were not a race to fight back,” he replied sadly.

“Why didn’t your community produce great politicians or statesmen but only bureaucrats?” Iasked. “Why not great leaders?”

“Politics was considered a dirty word by Kashmiri pandits,” he answered. “We never saw ourselves getting into politics. We would have plenty of discussions around politics but getting involved in it was not a nice thing to do for a respectable family.”

In olden times, Brahmins saw themselves as advising the King and telling him how to run the kingdom. They never saw themselves as becoming the King. Was that the attitude, the script that predetermined and guided my father is law’s destiny? The one he was talking about? And was it the reason that Kashmiri pandits were never political beings, politically conscious race whocould fight for their identity, their roots?

1990 changed all that. Overnight it not only uprooted the community but dealt a fatal blow to the very identity and pride of the community. From venerated advice givers and intellectuals,suddenly the community became refugees and had to struggle for survival living in tents and camps surrounded by brick kilns. As a sense of shame pervaded them, they saw their civilizational values crushed to the ground and could never understand why the world remained silent. Once a proud community that had given the world some of its finest works of scholastic excellence, now had to find reasons of daily existence.

Through all this, there is one thread that seems to run again and again. It is that the Kashmiri pandits were not a politically conscious people earlier and had stopped being so for a long period of history.

Today, one witnesses a new phenomenon and that is the new Kashmiri pandit who is a changed man. No longer is he scared and petrified of the murderous attack that drove him out. Every race goes through a moment of truth, of metamorphosis and I believe that has come for the Kashmiri pandits of the modern India with the changed leadership at the center. In terms of number theymay be small, but they have an identity that is glorious and like no other. If we don’t listen to that voice, I believe, we are making a serious mistake and a voice that can be of all Indians one day. That voice is spiritual and comes from the land where Hinduism took its roots and grew tobe in its finest glory.

I believe the time has come to change that narrative. Today’s India is different from the India of earlier times, even the India of ten years ago. Todays’ Kashmiri pandit is a changed one, whose collective is rising and who is turning into a political being like never before. It will be a serious loss for us as Indians if we fail to recognize that new consciousness that is emerging.

Thirty years of being out of the homeland has brought him out of the  survivor mode and he is going for his roots, his identity in a way that is both courageous and I believe, will chart a new path. A politically active and conscious Kashmiri pandit is a symbol that India has not lost, that Hinduism hasn’t lost and last but not the least our vision is not lost.

Politics begins where we become conscious of how and why others are trying to exclude us from the mainstream of the national discourse. Today that is the script of India with many Breaking India forces trying to break our country into pieces. A picture of a Kashmiri pandit in the Parliament will tell the world that no one can be excluded and pushed towards oblivion and annihilation in modern India, however small he may be or his identity maybe. He is in the majority of one and that is the soul of India.

Are these the only reasons why we want Kashmiri pandits in politics? As a non- Kashmiri and as an Indian, I believe, there is a deeper reason and that is to do with the civilizational values of India. I believe my country has always given a voice to the survivor, to those who have shown resilience to protect those values and have fought to preserve the ancient traditions and culture that makes India what she is.

A politically active Kashmiri pandit leadership will tell the world about not only the resilience of Bharat Varsha and her glory but also give a message to what she stands for. I hope our political parties are listening.

A small step has been taken in this direction that promises to take the community on a path of self assertion and identity. If we nurture it today, it will grow into a giant tree which will one day provide support and sustenance that the land of Kashmir once did to the rest of India. This is what we, from the rest of India, owe to the land of Kashmir.

The voice of Kashmir rose from the very heart of Srinagar and reverberated across India. It was the voice of sanity, of the highest levels that Indian civilization had reached. The seat of Shankaracharya temple, the oldest temple there, still resonates with bells that had reached the farthest corners of India once.

When someone from this city gets up to speak in India’s Parliament, it may not only be said to rise from the very place where the soul of the Indian civilization once stood but will give the world a message of unity for all Indians that will resonate for generations. The Kashmiri pandit,may not have a large flock behind him today but he is someone who more than what anyone else can tell the world about the rights of India over Kashmir and why it is an inalienable part of India.

Rajat Mitra