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Threat Continues


The martyrdom of three senior officers during an encounter with terrorists in J&K’s Kokernag has shaken the entire nation. The security situation has been progressively improving in that Union Territory over the past few years and this incident represents a major setback in the efforts to bring about normalcy and civilised existence. Even the elimination of those who committed this act will not compensate for the loss. It also underlines the sensitivity of the J&K issue in the overall perspective, which has too often been treated in superficial manner and politicised in the pettiest ways. Those who have played both sides of the game for personal gain continue largely unaffected, using ordinary people as mere pawns.

It is important that India adopt proactive measures to deal with the terrorist threat. Its diplomatic efforts to isolate Pakistan in the global scenario have paid good dividends, greatly weakening its ability to sponsor terrorism. However, the military response, too, needs to be more than just ‘containment’. That three senior officers were killed in an engagement despite the benefit of numbers indicates that the adversary took advantage of predictable tactics on the ground. It is necessary that these be reviewed at every level and improvements made in terms of Standard Operating Procedures, equipment, technology input, and overall approach in diverse terrain. ‘Leading from the front’ does not mean giving the enemy the opportunity to inflict such heavy damage.

There is no doubt that going after over-ground workers, ‘conflict profiteers’ and enablers of various kinds who have enjoyed immunity for long is the right strategy. The steps taken against the various restrictions imposed on the people over time are also proving successful and forcing the jihadis to adopt desperate tactics. That most of them now are from Pakistan and that local youth are being slowly weaned away from extremism is a sign of the change taking place. At the same time, there is absolutely no room for complacency – the pressure needs to be continuously and inexorably applied. Opportunists like Farooq Abdullah use such occasions to advocate ‘talks’ with Pakistan, as though it has a legitimate stake in the region. This kind of ‘solution’ needs to be strongly resisted. The opposition politics that is presently emerging in the country includes such anti-India objectives. It needs to be ensured that the gains made on the back of sacrifices like those made by the three officers on Wednesday are not undone by handing over power to the wrong people.