Rebel incursions into Kashmir from Pakistan at all-time low

July 5, 2011

Summer has set in in scenic Kashmir, melting snow on the high Himalayan mountain passes and allowing easier movement of separatist militants from the Pakistani side.

But this year, rebel incursion into Kashmir is down to its lowest level since the separatist revolt began in 1989.

Syed Atta Hasnain, General Officer Commanding of the Indian army’s Kashmir-based 15 Corps, recently said that for the first time infiltration has come down to zero in the last 20 years.

No militant has been able to sneak into the Kashmir Valley so far this year, local media reports. There were two failed infiltration bids near the Line of Control (LoC), the heavily militarised ceasefire line dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

But peace still remains a distant prospect in Kashmir, a region at the heart of decades of animosity between Pakistan and India, and more recently, the scene of massive street protests which erupted in the past three summers.

The Indian army built a three-metre high barbed wire fence along much of the 742-km (460-mile) LoC in 2003. But the fence failed to stop incursions.

Is the Pakistani government making efforts this time to stop infiltration and give peaceful resolution a chance?

Top diplomats of the two countries met last month and in their first formal talks on disputed Kashmir in two-and-a-half years, agreed to expand trade and travel across the ceasefire line dividing the region.

Families on both sides of Kashmir have been cut off from each other and old trade routes have been closed since the subcontinent’s partition in 1947.

But the fresh peace efforts are vulnerable to any attempts by militants to try and spark a war between India and Pakistan by launching big attacks in or outside Kashmir.

The first five months of the year have been the most peaceful in Kashmir, compared to corresponding periods of the past two decades.

Will the LoC, one of the world’s most heavily militarised and volatile frontiers, witness increased travel and trade in the future or militant incursions and bloodshed?

16 comments

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This is the first step towards peace and reconciliation – stopping infiltration and insurgency. Then comes the responsibility of assuaging public feelings and slowly trimming down the military presence in the hinterlands of Kashmir and confining to the border areas. Jobs have to be created for Kashmiri youth and they need to be given opportunities for education and work in other parts of India. A slow and steady progress has to be made to diffuse the sensitivities. Commissions have to be set up for running inquiries of human rights violations. Armed Forces protection act has to be withdrawn. Co-operation is needed from the local public at the same time, with an understanding of the issues the other side faces. A compromise has to be worked out. Peace is the only way to end this unfortunate condition. Nothing else will work. Once stability and peace are ensured, then negotiations for settlement have to begin between all groups involved. India’s concerns must be addressed. Hopefully everything will work out.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

KP singh has put the responsibiliy for maintaining peace on Kashmiris,while exonerating the Indian state of the crimes against humanity it committed during the past 60 years of occupation in Kashmir.This is the problem with Indians who feel that Kashmiris themselves are responsible for the scourge of Indian military occupation.I want to know what compromise should be reached with an oppressor and the oppressed.Yes we know peace is the only way be you cannot enforce peace through military might and arm-twisting tactics used to quell peaceful protests which has engulfed the region from past 4 years.

Posted by rauff69 | Report as abusive

NAAA NEVER TRUST PAKISTAN…….ITS LULL BEFORE SOME 26/11 TYPE ATTACKS………..PAKISTAN HAS PROVED MANY TIMES THAT ITS A ROGUE NATION

Posted by IMTHEBOSS | Report as abusive

rauf69,

Please re-read my comments. I have said “Commissions have to be set up for running inquiries of human rights violations. Armed Forces protection act has to be withdrawn.”

Everything cannot be done at the same time. A lot of damage had been done by all parties involved. Kashmiris have to do their part. Kashmir’s insurgency problem is a result of Pakistani military and its non-state actor divisions launching a Jihad there since 1989. Indian military is present in a large number because it was drawn into it by Pakistan. Kashmir was turned into a war zone and military is the only establishment that is being blamed for all ills. I disagree. All parties are responsible for the damage there – Indian security system for its lack of professionalism/training, Pakistan for running a proxy war using all kinds of trained militants and Kashmiris for siding with them. Any Kashmiri who spoke his mind out about Pakistan’s involment or a compromise was eliminated by “non-state actors”. I do not disagree that our military has been brutal (not only in Kashmir, but also anywhere it is deployed). This is a training issue that needs to involve humane approach against insurgency. But Kashmiris made the mistake of taking to arms with the assurance of help from Pakistan.

There is no use talking about what happened. We need to look ahead and seek a solution that will meet the needs of Indians and Kashmiris. It is not going to be a one way street. Our concerns need to be addressed as well. There is a reason why we are holding on to the territory of Kashmir. Our geo-political equations cannot be offset under any circumstances. Kashmiris need to understand that.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

I guess we’ll get to see now how much of the insurgency is native and how much of it is backed by Pakistan.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive

If the lull in Kashmir is caused by Pakistan being in a financial crisis, then cold logic suggests that India should keep Pakistan tied up in an arms race that it cannot win and eventually bankrupt it, like the US did to the Soviet Union. Crushing Pakistan economically may be the way to ensure peace in Kashmir. Tough and cynical, yes, but that’s what logic says. They better stir up some trouble quickly, to dispel the inference of a correlation ;-).

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

i feel for the first time that peace has prevailed in Kashmir, but both India and Pakistan should grab this opportunity and address the issue taking aspirations of the people into consideration. in past also we have witnessed brief time of peace several times but the which later proved just a lull before storm.
I as a Kashmiri warn both neighbors that don’t underestimate this lull, Kashmir can turn again a battlefield anytime if not addressed.

Posted by drshugufta | Report as abusive

what i could observe out of indo pak meet last month is a part of solution that is a bigger autonomy …non in Kashmir and south Asia must expect free Kashmir because it is impossible. it took Kashmir one hundred thousand lives and 60 precious years to reach to a point of bigger autonomy. what will it cost Kashmir to gain independence …
and about India’s claims of insurgency we will have to wait for it to be true till than its a big lie

Posted by littlemiss | Report as abusive

KP,
Sadly I am still pessimistic about the infiltration issue regarding Kashmir.
Firstly, Pakistan’s deception on the issue has haunted Indians many times before and that the possibility of Pakistani state resuming its terror policy, once the raging insurgency subsides and war in afghanistan ends (or ebbs), is still a matter of choice for them.

Secondly,Although I believe a constant engagement is a necessary condition to break the logjam, its not the sufficient condition for a breakthrough. A change in the state psyche can only be visibile if pakistan is in good times (after the end of afghan war and consequently the insurgency) and does not resort to old tactics. Any attempt to assume that paksistan has changed its stance and policy is self-defeating at this point of time.

Thirdly, Remember all those kashmiris pouring on the net. They are still worried about Indian military and its human rights violations (most of the Indian Army has no presence in major towns of kashmir now but state police) but out of extreme terror and fear from extremists, they would not talk about the them who doesn’t have a face nor any accountability to anybody. Kashmiris psyche regarding terrorism is still the same.

Fourthly, The terror is a weapon and an average kashmiri’s fear of the terrorist is an excellent lever to control Indian movements on peace to trade. It would be akin to jumping the gun if we were to believe pakistan has willingly let go off this pivotal weapon it has painfully cultivated over the decades.

Moreover, we need to remember that Article 370 in the Indian consititutions holds a special place for kashmir where Any Act passed by Indian Parliament will not automatically becomes a law in Kashmir. The state government has to pass such law to reflect some congruence in the state. owing to popular Islamist protests the state governemnt continue to withheld important legislations that would give kashmiris more economic oppurtunities as well as social freedoms.
This Indian political faultline with kashmir is too mouth watering for pakistan to avoid meddling in kashmir’s affairs time and to divert attention from its own failures.

Finally, pakistan’s structural faultlines continue to deepen and there is no evidence of the deep fissures in the society mending at any time soon. The economy is still in doldrums, political class still to be seen taking up a stronger stand against fundementalists, military remains defensive and could not ramp up enough pressure on the militants to defeat terrorism, state bureaucracy still in directionless morass and basically the status-quo remains.
Remember how pakistani bureaucrats patronize foreign correspondents and diplomats when they visit pakistan. Owing to domestic fallout of terrorism and international scourge that comes with it the change in seemingly pakistani attitude could be a case of ‘bowing down to bad weather’ . It would be premature to call this as change in attitude and will be a huge folly if attempted.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

Kp,
Remember Countries won’t come to negotiating table(unless they lost in the war) until they are certain that they are in the strongest position to deal with it.
Pakistan will come to the negotiating table only when, atleast, in its own perspective believes it has improved its position and standing in the world.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

India and Pakistan are set to unveil specific cross-Kashmir and nuclear confidence-building measures (CBMs) when their foreign ministers meet in New Delhi on July 26-27 amid an improved atmosphere to continue the resumed peace process.

The talks between the foreign ministers will be preceded by a meeting of foreign secretaries and separate meetings of working groups on cross-border and nuclear CBMs agreed during the talks in Islamabad last month.

Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir is expected to come to New Delhi on July 25 to meet his counterpart Nirupama Rao, setting the agenda for the talks between the foreign ministers.

But let us not expect results overnight

Posted by moonwalk | Report as abusive

I think a permanent solution to Kashmir lies more in the hands of local Governments than anyone else. It is their bungling and ego driven greed for power that either molly coddles or crushes peoples’ aspirations. The few Kashmiris I have spoken to maintain that local politicians have only their own interests at heart. While the people have not really gained enormously, most politicians have made buckets of money.

This is not imply that the Centre is an innocent at large. It has to take the most blame for having let matters slide and taken sides in local politics, more for party gains than national interests. When things get out of hand there is a reaction which is generally too little too late and in good times it goes into a slumber, hoping the problem will disappear.

I also feel that an eventual solution will require the Indian administration to talk more to the Kashmiris than with Pakistan. Pakistan’s aim has always been to stoke the Kashmir issue, not solve it. The final victims have been Kashmiris.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

@GP
“If the lull in Kashmir is caused by Pakistan being in a financial crisis, then cold logic suggests that India should keep Pakistan tied up in an arms race that it cannot win and eventually bankrupt it, like the US did to the Soviet Union”

It is much easier in India Pakistan case. India just has to declare an increase in defence budget, just DECLARE and Pakistan will actually get into spending more on defence. Its very easy when the other party is already is a state of victim hood and suffering from deep inferiority complex. But I believe this should be tried as our last resort, rather we must try to re-build what is lost.

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive

Kashmiris should realise that their future like the rest of the muslims in India is with India and not Pakistan. Pakistan is a failed state. Pakistan cannot bring peace to its own people what to talk of people from across the border.

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive

the kashmiris can live peacefully as part of india, like the rest of the muslims. Even though Pak is an islamic state and more than 90% are muslims. Today in islamic pakistan more muslims are being killed then in any other non muslim country. Doesnt that say a lot?

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive

India’s concerns have to be considered in the situation. We have to deal with China, which loves to see us crushed by whatever means possible. Ever since we went nuclear, China has been busy building a string of pearls around India in order to choke its neck. None of these are normal nations. They have mostly military dictatorships or are being driven by their militaries from behind. China already has built the Karakoram highway linking itself to Pakistan, through a territory that is called as a disputed one. By turning the Kashmiri Muslims hostile towards India through a carefully planned proxy war, India has been put on a disadvantageous position. If Kashmir goes, it would turn into another pearl in that necklace. And missiles will be a lot closer to Delhi than now. Instead of one hostile nuclear armed Pakistan, we will have two where deep seated hatred towards our people has been built over two generations now. We cannot sit for a settlement where we get to lose. No one will. We do care about the freedom to live for everyone. But Kashmir has been turned into a war zone by Pakistan, with China’s backing. It was China that helped Pakistan with real nuclear bomb design and technology. Kashmir Jihad was launched once Pakistan’s nuclear capability was established. Until we are assured of our security and integrity, we really cannot afford to loosen our grip on Kashmir. The situation in 2011 is vastly different from that in 1948. Today, Kashmir is a proxy war battle field between India and Pakistan/China. Though Pakistan is using Islam, 1948 settlement etc as reasons for its involvement in Kashmir, we know the real reason today. We will not lose to Pakistan, but to China. We cannot afford that now. Pressure has been exerted on India in various ways. But our situation needs to be understood here. No country could have withstood insurgency to the extent India has. We have shed blood too. Today no one knows how things are going to go in this region. This is the wrong time for any settlement when we cannot trust either Pakistan or China. I’d like to see any settlement within the Indian frame work and solutions are possible.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive