This is a development that India could really have done without. Intelligence reports suggest that Pakistan’s army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is pushing to assume charge of Kashmir and Afghan affairs when his term ends shortly.
He is an implacable adversary of India and the mastermind of the efforts to push jihadis into Kashmir. He is also alleged to have links with many extremist groups and has opposed any move by the civilian government for peace with India.
This along with recent incursions in the Keran sector and the continuing hostilities on the Line of Control should serve as a warning to India in general and the Kashmir administration in particular that Pakistan intends to turn up the heat despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s pious proclamations of wanting peace.
That Pakistan will continue to carry out its nefarious activities is a given. But the more pertinent question is what the government in Kashmir is doing.
While the Keran operations were on, chief minister Omar Abdullah made the gratuitous remark that the whole thing was media hype. Then he spoke of other options against Pakistan only to back down and talk of the need for dialogue.
It is inexplicable how a person in the top position in a sensitive state feels that it is quite fine to speak with little thought as to the consequences of his words.
While our netas are not known for their sense of occasion, it is crucial that Mr Abdullah not be seen to either undermine our forces or make statements contrary to the position of the Centre.
He should engage the people of the Valley who have been buffeted by violence from all sides. He has at his disposal various recommendations from several committees including the one by the three independent interlocutors.
It is no one’s contention that the armed forces be moved out, but certainly human rights violations must be minimised, if not eliminated. The state sorely needs some sort of economic development plan to provide employment and livelihood to its young people.
Mr Abdullah has yet to come up with any proposal that is feasible.
The fact that Pakistan is in the doldrums, wracked by violence and tension and prone to fundamentalism, is something that the Abdullah administration should have highlighted while also showcasing the Indian growth story.
Inaction is clearly not an option in the troubled state, though that seems to be the path being taken now. Before Mr Kayani assumes charge of Kashmir affairs, the dictum forewarned is forearmed is something which Mr Abdullah should consider seriously.