India’s Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman was given an update about the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on Sunday. Accompanied by the Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, she was briefed on the operational preparedness and counter-infiltration grid. According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), “the Defence Minister visited forward areas in the frontier district of Kupwara.”
Mid-2018, with the fallout of the BJP-PDP coalition government, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had said that muscular security policy would not work in Kashmir. In an article, ‘Muscular Security Policy Will Not Work in Jammu & Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti Says After Her Resignation’, by Financial Express, “Mehbooba Mufti maintained that J&K was not an enemy territory as being perceived by a few.”
The late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s approach to the Kashmir issue was practical. The ‘Observer Research Foundation (ORF)’ in an article, ‘Vajpayee’s Kashmir Policy Was More Than a Slogan’, states that the 2003 slogan of Kashmiryat, Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat was a cornerstone for reconciliation. “It was an identifier of a prudent Kashmir policy, which dealt blow after blow that weakened the insurgency and the Hurriyat, thus out-maneuvering the Pakistan army’s plan in Kashmir.”
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Brussels-based South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) Director of Research, Siegfried O. Wolf in an interview with DW said, “New Delhi has been forced to see Kashmir predominantly through a security lens. Therefore, the space for political dialogue is quite limited.” Another expert, Agnieszka Kuszewska at Jagiellonian University in an interview with DW said: “the rise of Islamic radicalism in the region, fostered by the 1980s Afghan War had a direct impact on the Kashmir conflict.”
Meanwhile, the battle of ideologies in J&K continue to have its toll on the common men, women, and children. Innocent civilians are in the middle of the conflict. With the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in the corner, there seems to be no resolve for Kashmir.