Home Contact Us  

Pakistan - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5327, 17 July 2017

Three Years of the Modi Government

Jammu & Kashmir Policy: Innovative Solutions Needed
Sarral Sharma
Researcher, IReS, IPCS
E-mail: sarral.sharma@ipcs.org

Since 2014, New Delhi’s policy vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has broadly been a combination of tough approach towards separatist elements; reliance on mainstream politics; and keeping Kashmir out of the India-Pakistan bilateral equation. Early on in its tenure, New Delhi cancelled a foreign secretary-level dialogue with Islamabad when the latter invited Hurriyat leaders for a consultation. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had its best electoral performance in J&K after winning 25 seats in the Jammu region. Yet, its alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) has not been able to cash in on the opportunity to resolve certain continuing issues in the state. With the ongoing disturbance in the state, it is unlikely the government will alter its J&K policy before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 

After Indian Prime Minister (PM) Modi's invitation to Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony, many Kashmiri leaders such as Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expected that the BJP government might follow former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee's policy that combined elements of insaaniyat (humanity), Kashmiriyat (essence of Kashmir) and jamhooriyat (democracy). However, this did not happen. Then, the BJP and the PDP formed a coalition government in J&K, which the electorate in the Valley viewed as a betrayal by the PDP because the PDP had actively campaigned against the BJP during the elections. This sentiment of betrayal is at the root of the anger against the coalition government in J&K.

In a political outreach to the locals, PM Modi announced an INR 80,000-crore package for the state and invoked Vajpayee's policy at a public meeting in November 2015. This strategy did not bear results as some critical issues such as political engagement with the Hurriyat leadership and reaching out to Pakistan remained unresolved - resulting in differences being created between the alliance partners. Controversies such as regarding the construction of sainik colonies (accommodation for soldiers), separate townships for displaced Kashmiri Pandits, etc, further added to the growing sense of insecurity among the locals.

Mainstream politics is losing credibility in Kashmir mainly due to non-fulfilment of some promises made in the BJP-PDP 'Agenda of Alliance' and increasing separatist sentiments since the violent uprising after the killing of the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani in July 2016. Episodic killings of local parties’ workers and civilians have generated a fear among Kashmiris. Meanwhile, the absence of a strong political representation of the ruling coalition, lack of dialogue with different stakeholders etc have led to widespread alienation in the Valley. The abysmal voter turnout in the recent by-polls could be a direct manifestation of this growing phenomenon. Unsurprisingly, the PDP's stronghold, South Kashmir, is witnessing the worst phase of militancy in the recent years.

Moreover, the current situation in J&K has exacerbated internal regional differences within the state. Both Jammu and Ladakh regions have held the ongoing disturbance in the Valley responsible for negatively impacting their economic, tourism and development related activities. More recently, protests were held in some parts of Ladakh demanding Union Territory (UT) status for itself, which suggests growing impatience in the region. Also, an absence of an intra-regional dialogue and persisting disturbance in Kashmir could further widen these differences.

After India called off the foreign secretary-level talks in September 2014 after Hurriyat members met the Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi, Pakistan followed an aggressive agenda to internationalise the issue. Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif glorified Wani as a "symbol of the latest Kashmir Intifada" in his speech at the 2016 UN General Assembly.

Similarly, Pakistan's security establishment has been openly propagandising its Kashmir agenda. For instance, in February 2017, Paksitan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) released a video, titled Sangbaaz (stone pelters) as a "tribute to Kashmiri struggle" to celebrate the Kashmir Day. Incidents of ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts have also witnessed an upward trend since 2016. Although the "surgical strikes" post the Uri attack put Pakistan on the back foot, it seemed like it did so only temporarily, because Pakistan did not stop sending terrorists across the border. 

Islamabad continues to mention Kashmir domestically and internationally at forums such as the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), European Union (EU), etc to counter New Delhi's diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan on the issue of terrorism. Although Pakistan is criticising India’s J&K policy, the US and the international community have largely been cautious regarding the Kashmir issue given Islamabad’s own duplicitous policy on Afghanistan and its track record on terrorism. However, West Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran have raked up the issue in the recent past, much to India's diplomatic chagrin. 

Looking Ahead
The government's J&K policy has gravitated more towards the "law and order" problem since July 2016, allowing security agencies for clearance and to contain the situation. According to official data, local militants have outnumbered foreign ones with 110 from Kashmir and 90 from Pakistan. At least 88 local youth took up arms in 2016, mostly after Wani's killing. Over 60 militants from different terror groups have been killed in the first six months of 2017. While a range of political and security-related factors have led to this situation, the predominant narrative among local Kashmiris has been that they view the government’s policy of using excessive force, use of pellet guns etc as unjustified.

In the present circumstances, New Delhi might find it difficult to initiate a dialogue process in the state. The outcome of the Srinagar by-poll and the postponement of the Anantnag one may have further aggravated political insecurity in the Valley. A clear manifestation of the politically charged atmosphere in Kashmir can be witnessed via the locals' response to the government's J&K policy. Their actions probably indicate that if political negotiations are rejected and the focus remains on a security-based solution in the Valley, there could be further boycotting of polls and public opinion in the region will sway towards supporting protests that could turn violent.

So far, New Delhi has managed to tackle the external involvement in J&K, but it will require an innovative solution to address the internal dimension of the Kashmir issue.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Pakistan Senate Elections: New Alliances in the Offing?

In Context: NA-120 Lahore By-election

India, Afghanistan and the Heart of Asia: Reading Between the Lines

Pakistan's New Army Chief and the Indo-Pak Dialogue Process

Education Reform in India: Emerging Trends

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February  March
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.