Protracted Kashmir conflict


Laden with escalated violence and intensifying geopolitical intrigue, “Protracted Kashmir conflict” remained a bone of contention between two neighboring nuclear contending powers and a nightmare for perpetual peace proponents of the entire region. Vindicated by history, where at one end the unresolved dispute resulted in three major conventional wars and halted economic, security, and strategic prospects of cooperation/engagement at a bilateral and multilateral level. Likewise, on the other end, Indian forcible occupation also brought grim consequences to the grief-stricken Kashmiri masses. Ever since the controversial “Instrument of Accession” to the “Pulwama incident fallout debacle,” the valley plunged into severe humanitarian crisis, popular insurgency, draconian law malpractice, gross human rights violation, and perpetrated violence by Indian armed forces wreak unprecedented havoc until date.

This perilous situation strained further in the aftermath of the Modi regime’s “Iron Fist Approach” (Revocation of article 370, 35A, Domicile Amendment law) and new military doctrine (False Flag Operations, Hypothetical Surgical Strikes) enactment to attain multi-dimensional goals: conflict entrepreneurship, domestic political mileage, structural marginalization of native Kashmiri masses and pronouncement radical Hindutva ideological aspiration respectively.

In persuasion of such endeavors in the occupied territory, the chalked out policy encompasses curfew impositions, prolonged territorial lockdown, communication blackout, and military crackdown (tactical and operational) for detentions of political leadership, journalists, and common masses. Consequently, such assertive measures lead to violence upsurge, political unrest, economic soft patch, rebellious insurgency, and fragmentation of social fabric at large. Further, on, the bilateral relations between the two archrivals aggravated further due to their recent confrontations and mounting bellicose rhetoric shrinking the space of plausible negotiations over the unsolved quagmire whilst jeopardizing regional security architecture.

With no end in sight of peaceful conflict resolution, its feuding configuration due to stalled relations drastically pushing major archrivals toward another full-scale war outbreak in near future. Thus, it requires preferential treatment by revamping indigenous policy apparatus, coupled with proactive engagement of international stakeholders and great powers in compliance with the sanctity of the “Responsibility to Protect Doctrine (R2P)” to ensure peace-building measures and crisis management.

The fallout of the Pulwama incident brought a fresh wave of belligerence and coercion in Kashmir. Pretexting the incident as Pakistan sponsored terrorism act, a new counterinsurgency operation was launched in the valley by increasing the number of deployed troops. Dozens of innocent people were shot dead in target killings and fake encounters. The countless number of houses were demolished and public property set on fire, accusing its safe heavens of the rebellious insurgents. Peaceful protests were fired with pellet guns and bullets while women molestation and rape cases also swelled. Further, on, the agitating circumstances amid Delhi-driven recent political developments put normalcy (social, economic religious affairs) at a halt while pushing the valley into dark ages through caging and disconnecting it from the rest of the world. Ever since the article 370 revocation, millions of Kashmiris demonized by myriad repressive measures carried out by India to evade the probable backlash. An unprecedented lockdown, conditionally imposed a curfew, communication blockade coupled with militaristic actions, normalization, and rationalization of draconian laws ensured through media, security, and intellectual cover fire. Ruthless restrictions have sieged livelihood by hitting an economic soft patch, causing psychological traumatization and political strife. Likewise, education, communication, healthcare, and transportation are hard-hit sectors by the operationalized tyrant instruments particularly designed to marginalize the Kashmiri populous.

Arguably, what are ontological and epistemological dimensions for such political assertions and military doctrine concerning Kashmir Conflict? There are multifarious imperatives that explain why India opted for such vicious policy tactics and they estimate their effectiveness in serving the larger interests.

All the Post Pulwama developments vis-à-vis the Kashmir conflict are deceitfully engineered by the xenophobic and exclusionary political mindset of the ruling Indian party BJP, which is an offshoot of RSS predominantly known for breeding anti-Muslim sentiments and promotion of chauvinistic Hindutva tendencies. In recent years, false flag operations and speculative surgical strikes have emerged as a significant feature of the Indian military doctrine vis-à-vis Pakistan. Keeping the earlier strategic precedents in the account, the Pulwama incident is another episode of indigenously designed stratagem by the policymakers in Delhi to attain far-fetched goals following the [Pathankot and Uri attacks] for which Pakistan had been accused without definite pieces of evidence.

The occurrence of the incident right before the general Indian elections suggests that BJP vowed to gain massive domestic political mileage. This particular attack and confrontation with the neighboring state-assisted Modi regime to drive an anti- Pakistan campaign (largely a successful move in Indian political culture) not only undermined its probable electoral vulnerabilities but it secured victory in elections with a big majority.

With unfavorable external imperatives, ignorance of global stakeholders, persistency of the Kashmir freedom movement, and zero-sum prepositions of the contending actors, the conflict is likely to intensify and the security of the region would further deteriorate. Conflict entrepreneurship seemingly takes center stage where engaging actors would attain divergent interests- seeking political mileages, deflecting the attention from the catastrophes of poor governance whereas the sufferings of native masses would prolong. Thus, there is a dire need to revamp the zero-sum prepositions to positive-sum gains, a myopic approach to holistic view and biasedness with a prudent rationalization to ensure the peace restoration in larger benefit of preventing humanitarian crisis and averting the jeopardizing of already fragile regional security architecture.

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