Government forces have killed a record 247 militants this year in Jammu and Kashmir, and will keep up the pressure as they believe it is yielding results, top sources have told National Newspaper.
The forces only plan to review the tactical operations six months into 2019, as they don’t want to “commit the mistake” of letting down the tempo, as they’ve done before.
Interestingly, 2019 will also see Jammu and Kashmir voting for Lok Sabha and possibly assembly polls. However, it has not been decided yet whether both polls will be held simultaneously.
“The tempo of Operation Rakshak will continue into 2019. The security forces have been deployed there for tactical operations and they have achieved a great deal of success till now,” a source in the security establishment told newspaper.
Another high-ranking source said it was an oft-committed mistake to slow down the pace of tactical operations after a certain time, thinking that the situation has normalised.
“This is a situation that needs to be avoided. The forces neutralised 213 militants in 2017, but then everyone was told to ease a bit. Then the Ramzan ceasefire happened this year, which only made the fears come true. Militants used this period to recalibrate their strategy, to regroup and spread radicalisation,” the source said.
He added that following the imposition of Governor’s Rule, the pace of the operations was sped up, especially targeting foreign militants.
Ex-officers welcome move
The strategy to keep up the tempo has been welcomed by former officers.
“There is no doubt that the tempo of operations has to be continued. There are number of pillars include security, political, economic and social. What is needed is that other pillars also come into play,” said Lt Gen. D.S. Hooda (retd), former chief of the Indian Army’s Northern Command.
Hooda added that Pakistan is the “big elephant in the room”, and a concerted effort has to be made both diplomatically and along the Line of Control to ensure that it is dissuaded from supporting the terror infrastructure in Kashmir.
“Everything needs to go in tandem with each other. Only then will the real impact be felt in Kashmir,” he said.
Lt Gen. Vinod Bhatia (retd), former Director-General of Military Operations, said it was important to keep up the pressure.
“The security forces are getting good success. Most of these operations are very specific and based on pinpointed intelligence, and most of the intelligence is coming from the Kashmiris themselves, which means there is a large part of Kashmir that wants this terror to stop,” he said.
Bhatia added it was important to bring down the violence to sub-critical level, and for that, operations needed to go on.
“We will have to wait for the summer of 2019 to really know how things are shaping up,” he said.
(Inputs from ThePrint)