Typing Test


High intensity encounters between the Security Forces (SF) and the sponsored terrorists from Pakistan continue in the Valley with a degree of regularity, not as frequent as in the past but worrisome nevertheless. It is not the numbers but the quality of standoffs and the casualties that the Army is taking which cause dismay in public perception and rightly so. On one hand the public is fed with information about the improving situation and the strength of the counter terror and counter infiltration grids in J&K, by none other than analysts like me. Then there are frequent reports of glitches at the tactical and sub tactical levels leading to avoidable casualties. I have also gone to the extent of certifying the J&K counter terrorism model as the ideal one with each force and entity knowing where its space exists, its own limitations and strengths and the degree of cooperation it needs to overcome these. During the Pathankot incident I was strongly advocating that Punjab will have to sooner than later adopt this model. I am still convinced about that because the J&K model is inherently strong, based on years of experimentation and experience of some very competent practitioners. So, how do I view these repeated casualties in operations during contacts in the Valley? More importantly, how should the public be viewing this? If people with ground experience at tactical and operational levels cannot suitably convince public perception it is a failure of intellect and communication skills more than anything else; the public is not to be blamed. And, that unfortunately is the problem. Almost a year to the date, Archana Masih of Rediff.com carried an interview with me in the online publication. In that I termed the situation in the Valley, The Last Mile. I then went on to explain what exactly this means. The Last Mile is simply a situation which is a symbolization of the last stages of conflict stabilization in the military domain; quite different from the political, ideological and social domains. The strength of terrorists is at the lowest ever, the LoC is well dominated to prevent easy calibration by the other side. High profile leadership is missing due to inability to infiltrate without the terrorists facing heavy attrition in the march to the hinterland. Even if successfully infiltrated the ability to strike root is difficult due to all round domination by the SF and intelligence agencies. Terror groups avoid contact with SF and attempt only small scale actions and await their day for a larger deliberate operation, like the current one underway in Pampore. The Army, in particular, is used to high octane stuff; big ticket events, large scale contacts and regular contacts with intelligence inputs. It confirms the high energy levels and the desire to do more; no one in the Army has the patience to sit it out and that is how an Army always is. Everyone is out to kill the last terrorist so that the ugly face of terrorists is eliminated. However, the lesser the terrorist presence and more that the Army tries the results will never be commensurate with statistics of the past. Take it from me; there will be casualties on the Army side higher in ratio than at the time when there were a larger number of terrorists. In the Last Mile the attention of the Army will also be diverted by other issues. Human rights take bulk of the attention as do political and legal correctness and a host of other issues. Among many of these issues is something that commanders, staff and junior ranks never faced before; that is the issue of crowds and flash mobs descending on contact sites and attempting to divert SF attention or assist the terrorists to somehow get away. Hence, the greater urgency to finish operations at the earliest. This has been a phenomenon prevalent in South Kashmir in particular over the last two years or a little more. It instigates the SF and leads to responses where civilians are injured or die and that leads to fresh cycle of violenc