Afghan endgame and fears of rise in Kashmir violence

March 31, 2010

The Indian army says rebel violence will escalate in Kashmir in summer as hundreds of militants are waiting in the Pakistani part of Kashmir to infiltrate into the Indian side and step up attacks.

Seized bullets are displayed by the Indian army during a news conference after a gun battle with militants, in Srinagar March 28, 2010. REUTERS/Fayaz KabliEven an internal assessment of the Home Ministry says the summer of 2010 will be as bloodier as or even worse than the mid-nineties.

In Kashmir, violence involving Muslim rebels and Indian troops was on the decline since India and Pakistan, who dispute the region, began a peace process in 2004.

Then why does New Delhi fear escalation of militant violence in Kashmir?

Analysts say after the failure of high-level talks between New Delhi and Islamabad, both are now locked in an escalating proxy war in Afghanistan, a war-torn region where both neighbours vie for influence.

“If no solution is found to reconcile Pakistani and Indian interests in Afghanistan, the coming months might see stepped up terrorist attacks against Indians in Kabul and the return of militants infiltrating Indian Kashmir from Pakistan,” says Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist.

Though the high Himalayan passes are still covered with a thick layer of snow, Pakistan-based militants have started pushing in their members into the Valley.

Indian troops shot dead six separatist militants over the weekend as they tried to cross into Kashmir from the Pakistani side, the third such infiltration attempt to be foiled in the last four days.

The militant attacks in the region’s summer capital, Srinagar,  have already shown a steady rise. There have been four lethal attacks in the span of just 10 days.

A senior Indian army official told a news conference that there are approximately 42 (militant) training camps located in the Pakistani part of Kashmir and 34 are active.

“This year we have occupied additional counter infiltration positions (on Line of Control), and repair of border fence has also commenced earlier,” Brigadier General Staff Gurmeet Singh said.

Tulips are seen in full bloom inside Kashmir's tulip garden after its opening in Srinagar March 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fayaz KabliThe Indian army built a three-metre-high barbed wire fence  along much of the 742-km (460-mile) LoC, a military line dividing Kashmir, after a ceasefire between the two armies in 2003. But the fence failed to stop incursions.

Spring has just set in Kashmir with tulips and other flowers in full blossom across the Valley. But war weary residents have started fearing the resurgence of violence, especially in urban areas.

When the snow melts and allows easier movement of militants within the region and also lets them trek through the mountain passes on the LoC, will Kashmir witness a fresh wave of violence?

10 comments

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India is playing a dangerous game in Afghanistan. It wants to keep Americans silent and away from the core issue of Kashmir, without which the peace in South Asia is impossible.America should understand that the procrastination of the resolution of Kashmir issue will only make things worse in Afghanistan coz alqaeda and Taliban can easily blackmail Muslim youth by referring to the oppression of their brethren in Kashmir. this will earn them some sympathy and legitimacy that will make winning war for America only a dream that is light years away.

Posted by Perth | Report as abusive

Very well written piece. In fact the insurgency in Kashmir traces its roots to Afghanistan. Mujahedin, who had no tasks on hand after defeating Russia were directed to Kashmir. Hundreds of battle-hardened Afghans have died in Kashmir fighting Indian troops. Now again instability in Afghanistan and proxy wars being fought their by Indians and Pakistanis may have its ill effects on Kashmir situation.

Posted by Izhar | Report as abusive

very insightful and yes south asian peace is completely dependent on india and pakistan. in this context the peice written is actually what an all is happening and can happen in this region :
keep it up…

Posted by littlemiss | Report as abusive

India creating road’s.opening new hospitals to help war victims.. if some guys think it’s a game then why not you paying that game… at least this way you helps Afghan ppl’s. Pakistan looks more worried with Indian help, why not they do same … rather then supporting Mujahedin?? let come work for peace process…

Posted by arunthakur | Report as abusive

Absolutely true Mr Mushatq. Last year Kashmir witnessed lowest level violence in the past two decades and the security establishment were upbeat over the achievement. . I believe that even as security forces have been able to bring down the violence level in Kashmir, but the main reason behind the low violence was largely because of Parvez Musharaf’s policy on Kashmir who wanted an amicable solution to the sixty year old problem. He even cracked down on militants in his own country. But now it seems that Pakistan have gone back to its hard-line approach on Kashmir and it is evident from its assertions whether in New York, Islamabad or Delhi.

Posted by Majid11 | Report as abusive

20 years back i could see Delhi the capital of India flooded with Refugees from Afghanistan, I could not understand (until recently) why India was so sympathetic towards Afghanistan, I cant say what will happen in Kashmir, but AFGHAN END GAME is a very huge disaster for Indian agencies, for 20 years they have spent billions of rupees on Afghan Refugees even though aware of, that the half of there countries population goes to sleep without food.

Posted by bhat1234 | Report as abusive

kashmir is a testing lab and battle ground for India and Pakistan….it us unfortunate. Their language is violence, when they discuss through violence earlier it was kashmir only now afghanistan has added to the list. I appeal both the countries not use Kashmir for their bigger political gains or God will punish you both. Kashmir is bleeding from the [ast20 years and there is lilttle blood left in the Valley, once peaceful seat of sufism.

Posted by haleema11 | Report as abusive

@Bhat1234, insurgency is a moster which finaly consumes its sources, that is what is has happened to Pakistan. The Afghan end game is not disastrous for India but for Kashmir. Kashmir will see lot of bloodshed and nothinh will come out. We are the victims of India’s Chanakya policy and Pakistan’s ISI

Posted by gul11 | Report as abusive

yes where negotiations fail war is there but it is not that bleak ,back channel process is going on & both countries can’t afford war like thing as battle in afgan land is not over yet.

Posted by walee | Report as abusive

I my self come from kashmir part belonging to pakistan so called azad kashmir on a recent visit what i saw completly surprised me majority of the people in my region were from afganistan or they had come from the region bodering india, I asked a few people as to what they were doing in the valley leaving their homes and land in the mountains the reply i got was that they were scared of the constant shelling, I assume it will be both side shelling one another. There is no industry in azad kashmir the pakistani govt. has not invested in any sort of infrastructure if kashmir was ruled by one honest govt. it can be self suffient and look after if self the tourist industry in that place would be huge. India and pakistan should sit down work something out for them people and in return they would not have to spend huge amount of money on defence which could go towards their own people, everyone would be better off but India cannot let kashmir go because it would lead to its destruction because other regions will want self rule which India cannot afford and it is same with pakistan so the people of kashmir will have to suffer no matter what. They can thank the British, Lord Mountbatten and the U.N for their fate. Both India and Pakistan are there for self interest only, the good thing is our part is not as bad as the other side, this boder should come down like the berlin wall but unfortunatly their is no country out their to help the people of kashmir.

Posted by happysun | Report as abusive