With J&K’s special status scrapped, security forces to face fresh challenges I Opinion
The government has taken some landmark decisions on Jammu and Kashmir; decisions it argues will further national integration and usher in a new era of development. That’s long term.
In the coming months, Kashmir is likely to face a fresh set of security challenges in the wake of these decisions related to Article 370 that granted special status to J&K and the bifurcation of the border state into two union territories.
The security forces will have to strategize to overcome the new hurdles and work in unison to restore normalcy and a sense of calm in a volatile region where things are known to spin out of control every now and then --- both due to internal and external factors.
Kashmir watchers and military experts have predicted that the Valley is likely to witness a spike in violent protests and heightened militant activity backed by Pakistan in the near future. The Line of Control is also likely to get more volatile.
The neighbouring army, which is already pushing in terror squads from across the LoC to create trouble in the Valley, will definitely intensify its efforts to ensure tensions keep simmering in Kashmir.
The security forces are scenting trouble. Recent intelligence points to a build-up of military-style trained infiltrators at scores of launch pads along the LoC, waiting to cross the de facto border and unleash a new wave of terrorism in Kashmir. It is no secret that the Pakistan army initiates ceasefire violations along the LoC to facilitate the entry of infiltrators into J&K --- like the ones who carried out high-profile terror strikes in Uri, Pathankot and Nagrota.
A surge in infiltration attempts can be expected as the winters are still a few months away. The Indian Army has further tightened its counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism grids to thwart the designs of the terrorists and their backers. The forces will have to remain at their highest alert levels as even if a few of these terrorists find their way to the hinterland, things can swiftly turn from bad to worse.
Apart from the security angle, it will be equally critical for the government to reach out to the Kashmiri population to explain to them how they stand to benefit from the recent developments. This will become all the more important as there are going to be concerted efforts from different quarters to spread disinformation and rumours with the intention of creating unrest and trouble.
The removal of Article 370 does not change the mandate of the security forces in J&K. However, they may find themselves a bit stretched in the near future as they fire on all cylinders to ensure peace and security in Kashmir.