Kashmir - What Went Wrong
oft-repeated statement that the Indians have been rather poor in both their
conceptual as well as executive endeavours sounds no where as true as in our
tackling of the terrorist menace in Kashmir. It has not been errors but blunders
all the way. Not only the political leadership but also the military top brass
have been slow in evolving an adequate response to the situation in Kashmir.
Soviet intervention in Afghanistan provided Pakistan
everything it needed to unleash a new war of subversion against India-a secure
arms pipeline, funds-diverted from narco-terrorism, mercenaries and American
diplomatic support. Jehadist Army did not understand zia’s doctrine of
proxy-war-'make them wither on the wane’ and missed the strategic
fallouts of Soviet intervention. Pakistan kept us busy in Punjab all the while
it went about making preparations for subversion in Kashmir. Army failed to read
moves of Jamaat and could not correlate Jamaat’s political gameplan with
military game-plan. Visits of Saudi intelligence chief and other high-level
emissaries to Kashmir in early eighties were not meant to discuss weather. . By
1984 reports were available that ISI had started dumping arms in Kupwara. Lack
of source-running became problem for Indian army to trace these dumps. Civil
intelligence agencies had kept Army fully posted with threats. Reports regarding
Kashmiri boys undergoing training across the border were available as early as
1983. Army was also advised to pursue the plan of strategic satellite locations
in 1986. Had it been implemented there would have been no fidayeen
attacks. Army generals were not able to discern threat perception or to speak
militarily, ‘read the battle’.
Army failed to sensitise political leadership on the
threats to source-running due to politico-terrorist and administration-terrorist
nexus. What were the undertones and implications of dangerous Resettlement Bill?
Why was Pandit community being targetted as fifth columnist in Atish-Chinar? By
August 1989, as many as 2600 boys were reported to have crossed the border for
receiving training in subversion.
How Army was handling the job in the incipient stage of
the insurgency, has been best explained by two senior Army officers themselves.
Brig. Vijay K.Nair laments:
“The military hierarchy paid scant attention to the
increasing internal turmoil, which it considered beyond its ambit. In the middle
and late 80’s when Pakistan started training subversives and providing them with
the arms required for insurgency, the Indian side displayed a comprehensive lack
of appropriate intelligence. Even the military sources did not know, till it was
too late, that large-scale infiltration with arms had been going on for about
two years. There was obvious loss of contact with ground realities”.
Lt. Gen. Vijay Madan, the military strategist remarks.
“To believe that the Govt. its intelligence agencies,
the army guarding the LoC in J&K and the Paramilitary forces similarly employed,
none had a clue of what was brewing across the LoC since at least 1986 onwards,
if not earlier, is to stretch one’s credulity to unimaginable limits. Hundreds
of youth were sent across mountain passes for arming and training in PoK and our
picquets and patrols on the LoC remained ignorant of such passage speaks poorly
of these responsible for guarding the frontiers. That a number of those
youngmen went to Afghanistan for on-the-job training in insurgency operations
was obviously unknown to us till recently. Even if it was, we were unable to add
it all up and arrive at any worthwhile inference about what was going to hit us
in the Valley. Immense quantities of sophisticated arms and ammunition were
brought into the Valley without knowledge or interception. That this was done
over difficult passes and impassable terrain is no excuse for our failure,
though it certainly speaks highly of people who oppose us. Assuming this
information was available, then why no suitable action taken nor any alarm bells
rung? There can be no doubt that initially the trouble in Kashmir was allowed to
gain momentum because of sheer neglect”.
Border management was absent. For quite a few
months in 1989-90 borders were not porous but open. It was around this time that
Sopore, Kupwor, Apor’ became a phenomenon. Kashmiris thought that either BSF
manning the border was involved or there was some understanding to hand over
Kashmir on a platter. This feeling strengthened when BSF pickets in Srinagar
city were suddenly removed and mass processions demanding secession were
allowed. Azadi was round the corner. Why not to be with the winning side’
feeling enveloped by the populace. A large section of uncommitted or neutral
population at this stage switched allegiance to the secessionists. All this time
Army continued to follow concept of peace-time deployment i.e. Army was in
barracks, and BSF was manning the border.
There was total absence of decisive orders after
exfiltration and infiltration became a regular affair.
Kashmir insurgency has followed the copy-book. First,
there were selected isolated blasts by militants to show their arrival and gauge
response of people. Then there were selective killings to silence the dissent.
Next the terrorists declared their political objective by launching a campaign
of ethnic-cleansing against Kashmiri Hindus. Whether it was JKLF or Hizbul
Mujahideen, all this was being done in the name of Jehad.
Army reacted to the initial phase of terrorist violence
from a defensive mode. No counter-insurgency doctrine tailored to requirements
in Kashmir was evolved. 15th Corps was not clear about political or military
objectives. There were frantic knee-jerk reactions. Troops were inducted and
launched. Since there was no thinking, everybody followed his own doctrine or
experience gained in North-East, Sri Lanka, Punjab or against Naxalites. It was
a situation of free for all.
Army leadership was also overawed by thinking that it
is a political problem and not a military problem. Army officialdom did not
define takes for juniors though there was no paucity of ideas. The result
was-initiative passed on to militants. Militants took advantage of this
defensive response. General Zaki’s promotion as security advisor did not help
the Army either. He interfered too much and the Army brass did not like it. Even
as a tactician, he did not display good military acumen. It was during his time
that Sopore became a fortress for militants and mercenaries. Main finances of
militants came from Sopore. It goes to the credit of BSF that it launched a
decisive campaign to flush out terrorists from Sopore.
Lack of a clear counter-insurgency doctrine induced a
strange psychology. Troops and the commanders became obsessed with survival of
self and the unit and finishing tenure without any controversy. They
concentrated on safe passage for convoys, not leaving adequate troops for
counter-insurgency deployment. Two divisions were reserved for ‘Road Opening
Party’. The Army became ‘Road Masters’ or ‘Road Marshals’. How was it possible
that during the day Army would act as ‘ROP’ and launch counter-insurgency
operations at night? There were hardly any troops left for conducting
This was the time when militancy was cent percent
indigenous. Militants were not battle-hardened nor were they tactically sound.
Their training was inadequate and militants were also less motivated. Had there
been vision to evolve a counter-insurgency doctrine, Army could have launched a
no holds barred campaign to smash the militancy, decimate the leadership and the
cadre. Other duties could have been relegated to BSF or the CRPF. Teeth of the
militancy could have been taken out. Blunders at the combat level did not go
amist by senior army commanders. General Madan rightly describes the period from
January 1990 to till end of 1993 as “one of the wasted efforts”. He
“The Higher Hqs at Delhi or Udhampur had no clue on
how to handle matters and the higher Hqs at Srinagar spent its time carrying out
small unit operations rather than ensuring that a proper atmosphere was created
in order to give the psychological space for manoeuvre to the cutting edge i.e.
the fighting units to enable them to carry out their operations more
aggressively and in a proactive manner”.
At the militancy level no two insurgency can be dealt
within an identical manner. The approach by the armed forces will depend on the
nature of the causes, vulnerabilities of the militants and the people supporting
them, levels of militarisation achieved by the insurgents, access to and nature
of foreign support and the availability of sound intelligence. In 1990-93
Army leadership did not till inducting troops understand about genesis of the
problem, local psyche of the people and modus operandi of militants in a
Shift to Rural Areas
Kashmir terrorist movement initially started as an urban
insurgency. Two of the most disastrous results of this period of military muddle
were that militancy was allowed to spread from urban to rural areas. Had
correction at the appropriate military level been taken to control the towns,
known drills to isolate them from the countryside put into practice, it is more
in than likely that the problem would have remained confined to a few towns and
within certain specific areas inside them. The other fallout of bad planning at
combat level and sloppy psychological efforts was delivery of neutral or
uncommitted population to militants. Was Army leadership so naive as not to
appreciate what was good for winning the war in Kashmir? “Suggestions on all
these aspects were made and well in time. They were ignored due to personal
biases, lack of conviction and sheer lack of military acumen”, laments a former
Pir Pantsal Control
By the time the Army leadership realised what had gone
wrong it was too late. Pakistan had begun inducting battle-hardened mercenaries
and gained direct control of all terrorist groups. Section, Flatoon and
Battalion “commanders” were all Pakistanis. It was at this stage that it dawned
on Army to do something.
With induction of foreign mercenaries, there was better
professionalism and quality of combat was upgraded. To blunt the new strategies
of the Army, terrorists decided to force dispersal of army by occupying Pir
Pantsal line in Doda, Rajouri and Udhampur districts. Terrorists’ objective was
to dominate inhospitable terrain and gain automatic edge over the Valley by
drawing Army to fight in this terrain. Army strategists did not appreciate it.
Army had options to foil this design by denying the
terrorists hideouts and gain control of this strategic region. This was possible
through sending long range patrols (which they are doing now), aerial
reconnaissance and dominating the routes. One brigade strength of soldiers was
enough to achieve this objective. With terrorists having dug deep, now even one
division strength is insufficient to meet this task.
Fallout of allowing terrorists to dominate Pir Pantsal
region was something the political and military cost of which was quite heavy.
It forced dispersal of Army over a large and inhospitable area. Pakistan gained
propaganda mileage that whole of J&K was up in arms. Srinagar-Jammu national
highway became insecure and more troops were needed for road opening.
Ethnic-cleansing campaigns of non-Muslims started in these Muslim-majority
districts and Cis-trans Chenab belt came under terrorist campaign. Political
conspiracies to delink Doda via ‘Greater Muslim Kashmir Plan’, ‘Kathwari Plan’
or ‘Regional Autonomy Report’ were hatched with strong repercussions for
national security .
Failure to deny the hideout to terrorists kept routes of
‘infiltration and ex-filtration in Pir Pantsal open. Heavy infestation of
militants in Anantnag district is fallout of this. Helicopters were not used to
flush out mercenaries. Naive arguments were put forth that this will embarrass
India internationally. At times it was said that the decision was put on hold
either because Prime Minister had to speak in the UN or Geneva session was on.
The truth, however, remains that it was never in their scheme of things. All
this because it was said too often that Kashmir was essentially a political
problem and army’s role was to bring down violence to a level where political
dialogue can start. This made mincemeat of our counter-insurgency strategy.
Talking too often that Kashmir was a political problem sent wrong signals. The
terrorists interpreted this as a sign of army fatigue.
Army also did not launch ‘seek and destroy’ operations in
most of the terrorist infested areas and pursued policy of ‘recovery without
losses’ in areas of inhospitable terrain. The large concentration of mercenaries
in Lolab Valley, Ganderbal-belt, Aru-Pahalgam, Kokernag, Traal in Kashmir valley
in itself suggests that ‘seek and destroy’ operations should have been launched
A) Tasking problem of Troops: Results could not be
qualified because there was no clarity about the tasks. Seizure of Weapons
became the yardstick to please politicians. Tasking should have been in terms of
controlling infiltration, denying hideouts, eliminating support structures
rather than terrorists only. Army failed to built upon large-scale excesses of
terrorists on Kashmiri Muslims. Counter-insurgency battle had to be waged not
only on tactical front but also on psychological front. Army could have
published these excesses as a matter of policy and won over the victims through
B) Intelligence gathering: There was virtually total
collapse of intelligence in the wake of insurgency in Kashmir. The reasons were
drying up of border intelligence. Army and paramilitary forces had to rebuilt it
from scratch, initially from captured terrorists. Intelligence gathering
continues to remain hampered due to non-protection of sources and their
families, lack of adequate finance for sources, and absence of policy border
management. Some damage was also caused by the politicians who had no qualms of
conscience in indulging in populism on crucial security policies. Removal of
Ashok Patel, who knew Kashmir like his palm at a crucial time was a monumental
C) Counter-Insurgent Groups: Till 1994 raising of these
groups was not possible because there was no committed cadre available for
counter-insurgency. It started when many of the militants got disillusioned due
to criminalisation of militancy and inter-group rivalries. Use of renegade
militants could not be harnessed to the optimum because army had little say in
group recruitment. No proper screening was done. Antecedents were not verified
before recruitment. Many of the active militants got recruited. These
counter-insurgents had free access to arms, including service weapons. In 1996
in Kangan these militants decamped with weapons including LMG and provided
intelligence inputs to ISI. Lapse was that army had allowed them to read their
For proper running of these counter-insurgent groups,
unity of command was desirable. The role of these groups could have been
restricted to intelligence gathering. In the management of counter-insurgent
groups there was absence of uniformity of orders and higher orders were never
passed down. Everybody wanted to retain them on their side. Whenever these
ex-militants looted Pandits’ property, forest wealth engaged in criminal
extortions and settled personal rivalries through killings, Army did not put its
foot down. All this sullied the image of Army in the eyes of the common
Kashmiri. Initially there was sympathy for these militants, when they acted
strong enough to liberate people from extortions by terrorists. Army did not
realise that overlooking all this would create anarchy. Soon ‘renegade’
militancy turned counter-productive. Return of NC to power changed power
equations. This eased pressure on Hizb and other terrorist groups.
Counter-insurgents became soft targets. Many of them had to desert their homes
along with their families. There was no policy to preserve these groups as an
aid to counter-insurgency. Infact, Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray went on to claim that
“recycling of militants was amoral”. Airing of such views in public is
definitely a bad strategy.
Another blunder was the over publicity given to
counter-insurgents. It created backlash from separatists, and other mainstream
political groups in Valley. Their families had to face terrorists’ and public
wrath. Renegades became over-dependent on Army for survival and lost basic value
of intelligence gathering.
Counter-insurgents played a very useful role but could
have been used better. In the initial stage it were these people who helped
gather crucial intelligence. They smashed the Jamaat-Hizb infrastructure on
which the terrorist movement was sustaining. It forced Jamaat Islami cadres on
the run. Creating conducive atmosphere for holding 1996 assembly elections was
possible solely because of the efforts of these counter-insurgent groups.
Had there been a clear perspective, counter-insurgents
could have continued to play useful role. Their services could have been
harnessed to build responsible intelligence network and some operations under
cover. These renegade militants were misused after they were disowned in 1998.
They were distributed and every party assigned them a role that suited the
particular party. The two major policy blunders were assigning them a political
role as a group and secondly recruitment in Police. Recruitment of these
renegades in police kept alive the risk of internal subversion. Indian state has
a moral responsibility to rehabilitate these people who have abdicated
militancy. It should not be done in a manner that undermines the legitimacy of
the state and makes these groups controversial. Stunning disclosures by Chief
Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh that there was a plan to rig elections through
police-surrendered militants nexus should serve as a warning on how to handle
surrendered militants. Bad work done by these renegades and the partisan use
made by opportunistic politicians has brought disrepute to all the good work
done by SoG and STF wings of state police.
Ground situation in J&K does not indicate any
improvement. Pakistan has created a war-like situation by blatantly sponsoring
cross-border terrorism. Suicide attacks by terrorists on security and civilian
targets are taking place on a regular basis. There is no let-up in infiltration.
Area of terrorist conflict has widened and there is upgradation of terrorists'
armoury. The terrorists' have been able to operate through a well-developed
infrastructure of support, which includes guides/informers, harbourers and
accomplices. Minority groups in Muslim-dominated areas of Jammu province
continue to be under pressure. Ethnic-cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus remains
To what extent the war of attrition has tired down the
local support for separatists is difficult to guess. However, it can be safely
said that India has failed to evolve a realistic counter-insurgency doctrine to
tackle terrorist menace in Kashmir. Even the Estimates Committee of Parliament
in its 20th report on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) regarding policy making and
system of higher direction has deprecated the lack of strategic planning and
thinking at the national level. It has pointed out that directions and tasks
must necessarily flow from a well-defined policy, or else the armed forces,
guided by adhocism, will founder. Mr George Tanham of the Rand Corporation, the
prestigious think-tank of the USA, in a study "Indian strategic thought,"
concluded that India has no strategic culture or tradition. It is an
inward-looking country and its history, geography, culture and civilisation have
shaped this tradition, he added.
The main failures of India's counter-insurgency strategy
in J&K are lack of long-term strategic planning, defensive mindset built on
bizarre assessments and non-coordination among different security agencies.
"Proactive strategies," announced by NDA-government have remained empty rhetoric
only. The security forces, operate from a defensive angle under severe stress.
The mindset of politicians has percolated down to the
Army generals. ‘Kashmir is a political problem and needs to be sorted out
politically’ has become new obsession. Kashmir problem is being attributed to
the cumulative neglect of political, economic and social aspirations. If it is
to be sorted out politically, then what should be the scope of CI operations.
Obviously, to bring the separatists to the negotiating table. This dangerous
mindset is responsible for not fashioning a pro-active strategy. Seek and
destroy operations have thus been employed selectively and not as a regular
Separatists elements in Kashmir are waging a Jehadist
war, which has transnational linkages and ramifications. Post-1973 oil boom in
Gulf and Soviet intervention in Afghanistan are in the primary responsible for
rise of Islamist rebellion in Kashmir. Jihadist violence has to be defeated both
globally and locally. There are no short-cuts. No amount of appeasement of
separatists or their sympathisers will deliver peace. This leads to one
conclusion: Terrorist war has to be defeated militarily. Once it dawns on
Kashmiri separatists that they are fighting a losing war, dissenting elements
will come forward to wrap up the last remnants of terrorist violence. Peace with
dignity and honour in essence means compromise with separatists. It is only
after defeating the Jihadist war on the ground that addressing the problems of
misgovernance or restoration of displaced Pandits to their homes will have
An important cause for the failure of the operations in
J&K is the lack of coordination between the MoD, the Ministry of Home Affairs
and the Cabinet Secretariat. The formation of Unified Command was a laudable
strategy but it failed to achieve its objectives. The original purpose was to
reduce duplicity of efforts, have honest intelligence sharing and periodic
review of CI strategies. In practice it never happened due to unnecessary local
political interference. There was no clearly defined command and control
mechanism and pr oper coordination between MHA, MoD and the cabinet
secretariat. BSF, Police and Army witnessed competition for credit-sharing.
There was no sharing of actionable intelligence and each agency held its own
There is a war-like situation in J&K. Therefore Unified
Headquarter has to be headed by a senior Army Corps Commander and coordinated at
the highest level. There is a need to create a single agency for directing
counter-insurgency operations. The centrally administered paramilitary forces
can be put under the command of the Army to carry out internal security duties
for which they are trained. The role of Rashtriya Rifles can be expanded further
with integration of SOG/STF wings of state police, VDCs and SPOs. Recruitment of
younger elements among VDCs and SPOs on permanent basis with better remuneration
and upgraded arms would provide a strong cutting edge to CI operations, with
ample actionable intelligence available. VDCs and SPOs also know the local
terrain and the people better.
A realistic counter-insurgency strategy would focus on
stopping infiltration, quarantining the insurgency by restricting the area in
which it operates, regain control over infiltration routes in Pir Panjal,
denying the hideout to the terrorists and launching seek and destroy operations
to decimate the militants, ensure that suicide strikes are counter-productive to
terrorists, evolving innovative intelligence strategies and lastly, neutralizing
the support structures of terrorists. External components of counter-insurgency
strategy to relieve pressure locally would include paying Pakistan back in the
coin and destroying camps in PoK. Political content should be given to
counter-insurgency and clarity of tasks and objectives should percolate down in
unambiguous terms. Additionally, Army commanders should avoid controversies and
dalliance with those think-tanks whose ideas are at variance with national
interest. In the recent past, the army involved itself in unnecessary
controversy by associating itself with a symposium in Jammu University and
conducting Sadhbhavana in Turtuk (Ladakh).
From Chicken Neck to Pathankot there is a linear defence.
After every hundred yards there is a security man. It is amazing how terrorists
could sneak in and launch a strike at Kaluchak camp. If we are not able to
manage linear defence, how can we deal with porous borders north of Chicken Neck
i.e. LoC and PoK.
During the past ten years, to facilitate infiltration,
ISI has created new enclaves in border areas of Jammu. As per a report, 16 Corps
Commander, Lt. Gen. JBS Yadava, disturbed enough by the link between new
enclaves and spurt in terrorist activities, sent a detailed communication to the
state government The commander revealed that hostile settlements had come up
along the more than 36 rivers and mountain nullahas in the Samba sector, which
constitute key infiltration routes into Pakistan.
The other major area of such settlements was across the
National Highway, connecting Pathankot to Jammu. These settlements provided a
staging post to terrorists seeking to target the Pathankot-Jammu road and
railway line, as well as access to key areas in rural Jammu. Mr Praveen Swami, a
senior journalist pointed out.
“Polemic apart, migration into Jammu poses several
difficult questions, which need hard answers...Hysterical claims of a conspiracy
to marginalise Jammu Hindus, then, are clearly misplaced. But the fact remains
that the new migration does hold out security risks. The growth of Gujjar
settlements along the Basantar, Aik and Devak rivers, for example, has been
mirrored by a sharp increase in terrorist activities”.
From here terrorists cross to Doda, Udhampur and
Bhaderwah or go north into Rajouri and Reasi. How responsive was the then ruling
NC government to national security concerns, Mr Swami wrote:
“General Yadava’s letter (October, 2001) received a curt
response. The J&K government argued that state subjects could settle wherever
they wished, and the Army had no business to involve itself in the issue. One
key point made in the 16 Corps letter, however, went unaddressed. The General
had pointed out that many of the new settlements were coming up on government
land, and that encroachments even in strategically-sensitive areas were being
regularised. Although the letter was too polite to say so, National Conference
cadre were often involved in the creation of such enclaves, brokering land sales
and then promising regularisation of forest encroachments, and access to housing
schemes like the Indira Awas Yojana. A Jammu-based Minister is widely believed
to have encouraged supporters to start a large-scale forest fire near Sidhra
earlier this year, an enterprise that was meant to clear land but went
tragically wrong after three of the would be settlers accidently burnt to
Despite the hurdles being created by the NC government,
the Central government did not intervene and allowed the situation to drift with
its disastrous results. It did not want to annoy an ally.
The reasons often cited for continued infiltration in
Jammu-Kathua belt are - availability of local guides to terrorists, lack of
coordination between various intelligence agencies and dense population right
upto the zero line. Till 1999, the Indo-Pak border in Kathua, which remained
peaceful, was mostly used by transborder smugglers for bringing in gold and
narcotics. Subsequently ISI started forcing these smugglers to also take a
consignment of arms and ammunition along with the gold and narcotics. J&K Police
as well as Punjab Police achieved a major success, when they seized large
quantity of arms from Hiranagar on the instance of gold smugglers. Police
realised the gravity of the situation only after three of the five heavily-armed
militants, who sneaked into the state from across the border, were killed during
a fierce encounter the same year. The remaining two terrorists were apprehended
by alert villagers near Ghagwal.
There was no dearth of ideas on how to tackle the
infiltration meace. There were suggestions to create a unified command of
intelligence agencies, besides clearing two km. belt along the border of all
inhabitants. Army had even demanded a role in administration in select border
areas to track down guides and harbourers of terrorists. All this was ignored.
A border-management strategy addressing to both the human
factor as well as the geography will take care of the problem of infiltration.
Inducting mines along the routes witnessing heavy and regular infiltration and
employing ground sensors to detect infiltrators have been often emphasised. This
should be done without any delay. Resettlement of ex-servicemen to create
pragmatic enclaves in border belts and bolstering of the patriotic groups has
also been suggested.
Army on its part should go for effective deployment to
check infiltration. Greater accountability and domination of all the
infiltration routes will reduce the infiltration to a minimum. Simultaneously
the GoI can maintain international pressure on Pakistan to put an end to
cross-border terrorism. In case Pakistan fails to respond, capability to smash
launching pads in PoK should be kept ready.
Suicide strikes by the terrorists has costed much to the
security forces. It has created fear psychosis and led to media disgrace.
Casualties have increased and additional manpower had to be deployed. "Fidayeen”
attacks at Raghu Nath Mandir can be explained but not on military camps.
These highly motivated terrorists have been able to sneak into high security
areas primarily because security of installation is not planned or lot of local
civilians have access to military camps.
There is a need to curtail this civilian access to army
camps. In the first fidayeen attack on Badami Bagh Cantt, allowing access
to doubtful journalists was a big security lapse. The disturbing trend is how
repeatedly terrorists are gaining access to camps. Senior army officers instead
of evolving a solution to this problem made irresponsible statements. "If
somebody has to die he can die inside also. These strikes cannot be prevented".
These statements do not add to the morale jawans.
Fidayeen attacks can be pre-empted through
foolproof security of the camps, forseeing the attack and maintaining vigil on
the civilian staff posted with the army. Had we foiled fidayeen strikes
in the beginning, these attacks would have gone out of fashion.
Infiltration of terrorist groups
World's foremost expert on terrorism, Rohan Gunaratna
says infiltration of terrorist groups is the only way to destroy these groups.
This is necessary to track down harbourers and financiers of terrorists, nab the
infiltrating groups, fomenting inter-group clashes among terrorists and finally
creating confusion in their ranks. Additionally, this can become important and
reliable source of intelligence gathering.
Seek and Destroy operations
These operations have one objective - to chase the
terrorist right up to his hideout and kill him. Army had been deploying it
selectively. Such operations demand national consensus as collateral damage at
the initial stage is heavy. In the initial phase, army followed a policy of
"recovery without losses" in Doda and the region was delivered to the
terrorists. Security of Srinagar-Jammu highway was imperilled and terrorists dug
deep into the adjoining Anantnag district. Minority groups in Doda became
targets for ethnic-cleansing. Use of helicopters to track down mercenaries in
higher reaches of Doda and upgradation of weaponry for CI operations was also
not seriously pursued.
Decisive battle to decimate terrorism in Kashmir has to
start from Doda. Gradually this can be extended to Kashmir valley proper.