Wake up and shake off that smugness

by Bashir Assad 

The upcoming G-20 summit at Srinagar, assumes more sensitive importance considering
this is a first the Valley and terrorist groups are clearly wanting to disrupt peace and mood. The political parties and leaders need to change their old narrative and understand that people want peace.

THE fact that an international event involving G- 20 countries is to be in Srinagar held later this month, is somehow more crucial than the summit itself scheduled in the month of December in New Delhi in which the leadership of the G20 countries is participating.
Though a small event, themed around hospitality and tourism sector, it is likely to figure in the headlines all across the globe. The event scheduled to be held between May 22 and 24 in Srinagar, as reported earlier, would be attended by more than 150 delegates. This includes delegates of the member states of G-20 and special invitees from many other countries which enjoy a healthy diplomatic relationship with India.

The G-20 event in Srinagar could go a long way in the infrastructural development in Kashmir through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). That said, the event is fraught with security challenges, in the wake of Pakistan’s serious reservations over India hosting the G-20 countries and particularly holding a side event in Srinagar. The terrorist organisations have already made their intentions clear about sabotaging the event by orchestrating
their security establishments here and there. Their intention is to create a narrative
internationally around Kashmir which suits the Pakistan’s persistent and consistent Kashmir
policy. The latest infiltration bid along Machil sector in Northern frontier district of Kupwara and the encounter thereof, is a reflection of what the Pakistani deep state and its militant arms are up to, ahead of the Srinagar event of G-20 countries. It so happened that based on a specific intelligence input provided by SSP Kupwara of a likely infiltration from one of the terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control towards Machil sector, troops were put on high alert on May 1, 2023.
A well-coordinated counter infiltration grid was put in place in this rugged and extremely
difficult area. A number of additional ambushes including those of the Indian Army
and SOG Kupwara were placed along the likely routes of infiltration. The alert troops in
ambushes, braved continuous bad weather marked by incessant rainfall, poor visibility
and significant drop in temperature for two consecutive nights. Early morning on May 3 at
around 8.30 am, terrorists were sighted by the troops having infiltrated onto our side of
the Line of Control. Intense fire fight ensued resulting in elimination of two terrorists.
The bodies of the two terrorists have been recovered along with two AK series rifles,
magazines and huge quantity of war-like stores. Further extensive search of area is
under progress. Identity of terrorists and affiliated terrorist group is being ascertained. This successful intelligence-based operation is yet another example of close synergy between Indian Army, JKP and all agencies. But the infiltration bid tells us of how much we need to not take peace for granted, especially when we are about to host the G-20 summit.
Then, the recent Poonch attack on an army vehicle in which 6 jawans were killed has exposed the vulnerability of the security environment in Jammu and Kashmir which finally reflects on the fragility of the prevailing peace in Kashmir. The defence analysts and Kashmir watchers were anticipating misadventures by terrorists in Kashmir from the day when we assumed presidency of G-20 countries in December last year followed by the decision of the Government of India to hold a high-profile sideline event of the
G-20 countries in Srinagar, obviously of geo  political and diplomatic ramifications. Whatever the dynamics of the internal political and economic crisis, mobilisation of its assets by Pakistan to create some kind of trouble in Kashmir and at a much hyped G-20 event in Srinagar is a simple analysis. It does not need rocket science to read the Pakistani mind. It has set a precedent only to be repeated and replicated time and again. We have witnessed skirmishes by Pakistan every time when some international event was scheduled in India. What adds to the vulnerability is the response of the political class of Kashmir to
such events. The latest statements coming from the NC leadership and other political actors from Kashmir, have yet again established, beyond any doubt, that in most cases and most occasions, the political class of Kashmir, unwittingly and unintentionally, become part of the problem and not the solution. Their posturing of such crucial occasions only strengthens the narrative of Indian adversaries and creates a space for noises (violent
and whimsical). Dr Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah have every right to express
themselves and disagree with the government on any pretext in any context; however, the
sensitivities involved cannot be wished away and one has to act in a very responsible manner. We need not go to the NC-BJP debate here as we believe both are two faces of the same coin. The larger point which needs to be highlighted here is, that the regional and political parties alike are meant to do politics on anything and everything
without realising the consequences as far as the fragile environment is concerned.
Our interactions with the people in the security establishment and as insiders who keep a close watch on the ground, take us to the conclusion that given Pakistan’s interference alongside the insensitivity of the political class, including the ruling BJP, could not allow Kashmir to be peaceful in true essence of the word. It is a strange yet a harsh reality that people of Jammu and Kashmir have, by and large, reconciled with the existing realities and genuinely want to move forward and contribute towards building a peaceful environment. However, the roadblocks by Pakistan and its militant arms cannot be simply wished away and the political class – both in Srinagar and New Delhi – cannot be expected to
behave in a responsible manner.

Security and intelligence agencies tend to agree with the observations that the days ahead would be crucial as there would be attempts by the terrorists to create trouble before and after the G- 20 event. At the same time, there are apprehensions that while eyeing the elections due in the country next year, the political parties (regional and national alike) would try to polarise the situation which could further help the adversaries of the Indian state to exploit the vulnerability to the hilt. It is the proverbial “Is ghar ko aag lagi ghar kay chirag se”. Unfortunate, as it would mean that more precious human lives
would be lost, properties damaged, both on account of terrorist incidents and political
polarisation ahead of general elections in the  country.


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