The developmental efforts initiated by Indian government in Jammu and Kashmir are appreciative and welcome measure for the state, as well as for the country and adds to physical, mental and social outreach of the nation into far flung areas.
These have been preceded by controversial measures of amnesty to stone pelters, and declaration of Non-Initiation of Combat Operations or NICO. These appeasement initiatives have not been so successful in past, and have been counter productive in some cases. The incident of 21 May 2018, wherein an Iftar party organised by the army at Shopian in South Kashmir as a goodwill measure, ended with clash and gunfire injuring four girls. The initiative meant to restore peace and goodwill proved to be counter productive as the locals refused to accept the biryani offered by the army. It led to stone pelting at the soldiers and the army had to open fire.
While appeasement of people of Kashmir valley may have bigger political messaging and noble intent, but from military perspective, it is a risky initiative. Opening up of cantonments to civil public, is another risky idea, giving an impression that the dangers of fidayeen attacks in military cantonments, and implications of its resultant embarrassment internationally, is not understood by many, who have been part of such a decision making process.
I am sharing my opinion published WION News on 22 May 2018 which highlights some of these issues.
(The views expressed are personal views of the author.Major General S B Asthana can be reached as Shashi Asthana on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ and on website http://www.asthanawrites.org)
Major General S B Asthana, SM,VSM, Chief Instructor, USI of India