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Old 03-04-2006   #1
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Default Kashmir militants give up fight and head home

4 March New York Times commentary - Lessons From Another Insurgency by Anit Mukherjee.

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... "I joined the insurgents only because of you," the young Kashmiri man told me, sobbing, "because of the way you humiliated me, they way you tormented me. To regain my honor, I picked up the gun." It was one of my more shocking encounters during my two and a half years of counterinsurgency duties as an Indian Army officer in Kashmir. Shocking, because it was the antithesis of everything I had worked toward. The self-awareness that inevitably dawns on all soldiers in a combat zone came upon me: I was not a part of the solution; I was the problem, or at least part of the problem....

During the first year of my counterinsurgency duties, I believe I created more insurgents than I, for want of a better word, eliminated. This was not only because of inexperience, but also because I lacked fundamental knowledge of the terrain, the people, the culture. I also didn't know how to sift through local intelligence effectively...

As a result, I mostly drew on tips and informants who, with hindsight, were mostly unreliable. The motives for giving me this information were usually property and land disputes, family feuds, tribal and ethnic conflicts and other causes unrelated to the insurgency. Thus, a combination of my own naïveté and enthusiasm, not to mention pressure from senior commanders to deliver results, resulted in actions that alienated the locals and, inadvertently, helped the insurgency.

It was only after a year of combat operations that I was able to build up my own intelligence network and gained the experience to be effective. Although conventional wisdom says that the tours of duty should be short, in my experience militaries fighting insurgencies should instead keep junior officers in the field for as long as they can. Successful counterinsurgency campaigns have usually been small-team operations led by junior officers with intimate knowledge of their areas of responsibility...

As the insurgents in Kashmir lacked the ability to mount conventional attacks, their weapon of choice was the improvised explosive device. Eventually, we largely neutralized this threat by constantly changing our tactics. By being unpredictable and undertaking intensive offensive operations, admittedly a function of abundant manpower, we seized the initiative and became the hunter rather than the hunted.

One of the few, and rarely noticed, successes of Indian security agencies has been their ability to subvert an insurgency. For example, in Kashmir, Indian intelligence services were able to buy out an entire strand of insurgents in the mid-1990's and create local counterinsurgents called Ikhwanis. For a time, they were extremely effective, and were able to wipe out the local insurgency before the foreign-born jihadis poured into the valley. By the time we deployed in the valley in 1999, the Ikhwanis themselves had become corrupted and were being phased out. But that experience taught us how critical it was to co-opt the locals into our counterinsurgency strategy...

Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-10-2012 at 03:32 PM. Reason: Found today and copied here as relevant
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Old 05-31-2012   #2
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Default Kashmir militants give up fight and head home

This insurgency has faded from the limelight for a long time, partly as Pakistan has restricted militants crossing the LoC into India-occupied Kashmir for years and Jihadists have focussed on Afghanistan.

Anecdote here (UK) indicates suggests dwindling support for the campaign, reflected in monies raised and Jihadists who seek to fight go elsewhere.

So it is with interest I read this BBC Urdu report, which opens with:
Quote:
Twenty years after they took up arms to fight Indian rule in the Kashmir valley, hundreds of local insurgents are now returning to their homes after renouncing militancy. The reasons are diminishing support from the Pakistani government, a realisation that the "Kashmir jihad" is going nowhere and a promise of amnesty by the Indian government.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18270058

Astute move by the Indian state to accept the returning militants and families. Be interesting to see how LeT and other, more militant groups change their rhetoric within Pakistan as this struggle was the original catalyst for their emergence.
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Old 06-01-2012   #3
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600 apply for Jammu and Kashmir’s terrorist amnesty plan

“My government has provided a legal mechanism for those who have crossed over to other side of the LoC during militancy and want to return and live a normal life. Some 600 applications have been received so far which are being scrutinised”, the chief minister said.

Under the policy approved by the cabinet on November 22, the government has decided to facilitate the return of former militants who belong to J&K and had crossed over the PoK or Pakistan for training in insurgency but now have given up arms.

Only those militants who crossed over to PoK and Pakistan between January 1 1989 and December 31 2009 and their dependents will be eligible for this scheme. They or their parents can apply online also. Also, the returnee shall not be entitled to any of the special benefits or privileges available in the existing surrender/rehabilitation policy.
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report...y-plan_1514771
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Old 06-01-2012   #4
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David, it seems to me (and of course, I am not privy to any inside info in these matters) that the hardcore paknationalist faction within the Pakistani state (and ultimately LET, or at least its leadership, will do what it is told by this faction) is still waiting for the US to leave so that things can "get back to normal". Of course, things will never really get back to where they were, but the dream is not yet dead. Individual Kashmiri origin militants may get tired and wish to go home, but:
1. The Paknationalist-Jihadist complex hopes to fight another day.
2. "Home" is also India, not exactly the most capable state in the world. There is likely to be enough mismanagement, corruption and incompetence in the program to keep the flickering flame of insurgency alive. I am not saying the program won't work at all. Things are slowly getting better in Kashmir and will probably get better even if there is a Paknationalist attempt to turn back the clock...but I am just guessing that the "good news" will likely be tempered by some rather un-German efficiency at the Indian end. (I am personally hoping that I turn out to be wrong..if that makes any sense...I think most Indians, Pakistanis and particularly Kashmiris will be better off if this whole liberation jihad is put to bed)
Something like that.

Last edited by omarali50; 06-01-2012 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 08-08-2012   #5
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Default Insurgency melting away

A long BBC News report from Kashmir, which is full of gems on a conflict de-escalating, due to state and non-state action or attitudes:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19168219

Quote:
These displaced Kashmiris - who number more than 36,000 in all, according to officials in Pakistani-administered Kashmir - find themselves increasingly alienated as Pakistan mends fences with India, and the insurgency winds down to a mere shadow of what it once was....

On the Pakistani side, communities along the LoC who had virtually lived in bunkers for 16 years rose up in protest against any hint of militant activity that might endanger the ceasefire. These protests forced local authorities to relocate militants to areas away from the border region.

These [Pakistani] groups cannot keep the insurgency going, because they cannot operate without local support..
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Old 09-07-2012   #6
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Default Background reading on Azad Kashmir

A book review on a country that rarely gets much attention today, the book being 'The Untold Story of the People of Azad Kashmir' by Christopher Snedden. Only Pakistan recognises Azad Kashmir is an independent country IIRC.

Link:http://tahirabbas101.wordpress.com/2...-azad-kashmir/

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The book is likely to be a tremendous value to historians of the region as well as sociologists and political scientists exploring the important developments in Azad Kashmir from the time of partition to the present.
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Old 09-08-2012   #7
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Default Its more than all that....

We had their parents begging us, trying to bribe the police and trying every political contact they knew to permit their children back. One of the most important reasons why they are coming back is the collapsing economy in Pakistan and the prosperity in India. Jammu & Kashmir had one of the lowest levels of poverty in India, even at the heights of insurgency. The militants who went to POK, are known as "Muhajirs" ( refugees from India ) and found it difficult to survive on the pittance paid by the ISI which gradually reduced. One of the other important reasons why the insurgency never really succeeded military is the extremely (even I say so myself ) successful light infantry campaign conducted by the Indian Army : no drones, no air support, no artillery( notwithstanding whatever tales you've heard), restrictive Rules of Engagements but the fight was always in the mountains.... the insurgents were relentlessly hunted worn down and eliminated. Own casualties... yes... but in comparison to the Iraq & Afghanistan campaigns.. low. I remember in the 90s the villagers used to tell us that the Afghans & Arabs used to boast to the : " We've driven out the Russians what will these vegetarian, puny, Hindus be able to do , we will massacre them !!" But though they fought the good fight, especially the Afghans, eventually they were eliminated or went back after their "posting". I also think that the very real threat of Human Rights prosecution forced us to conduct a more restricted military campaign which has contributed to this strategic victory. As platoon & company commanders we chafed at it, but in hindsight I think that was one of the best things that happened. When I read about nightime raids and the way the US forces operated in Iraq & Afghanistan I feel that cultural alienation plays a major part in generation of hatred & the accompanying military failure. If one does nightime raids in a culture where women are hidden in Burqas..... what do you expect ? Did I ramble on a bit.... ?!
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Old 09-08-2012   #8
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Gurkha,

I don't doubt what you're writting, but I can't help but think as I look at the statistics showing reduced violence in Kashmir since 2001 that it has something to do with the conflict in Afghanistan, and that after ISAF withdraws and the issue in Afghanistan is resolved one way or the other that violence will once again increase in Kashmir.

Tell me where I'm wrong.

The conflict in Kashmir is as much a state versus state (Pakistan and India) conflict as an internal conflict, so even if the average Kashmiri isn't excited about fighting for the reasons you listed, it seems probable that Pakistan will continue to send foreign fighters into Kashmir to stir up trouble even if they can't mobilize the population. Currently Pakistan is too busy with Afghanistan and dedicating their resources there to help the insurgents in Afghanistan.

It may not be an insurgency, but it will likely continue to be a fight against foreign militias until the issue is resolved between India and Pakistan.

Thoughts from an outsider.

Last edited by Bill Moore; 09-08-2012 at 06:12 PM. Reason: Grammar corrections
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Old 09-08-2012   #9
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True but it will not rise the way it did after the last Afghan war because, firstly the Kashmiris are no longer swayed (the vast majority of them) by calls for jihad, the Pakis now fully realize the extent of the demon they have created and finally because of the comprehensive anti-infiltration measures on the Line of Control & the CI grid in the Valley. The troop concentration In Kashmir is probably the highest ever achieved in the world.Attempts to infiltrate will increase and some will get through but unless the political establishment muffs it up yet again, the hearts & minds of the Kashmiri people are no longer with the fight. However, India is watching AfPak with trepidation and is preparing for the worst.......
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Old 09-08-2012   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurkha View Post
One of the other important reasons why the insurgency never really succeeded military is the extremely (even I say so myself ) successful light infantry campaign conducted by the Indian Army : no drones, no air support, no artillery( notwithstanding whatever tales you've heard), restrictive Rules of Engagements but the fight was always in the mountains.... the insurgents were relentlessly hunted worn down and eliminated. Own casualties... yes... but in comparison to the Iraq & Afghanistan campaigns.. low.
I would like to hear/learn more about this aspect you speak of... if you have the time.

.

Last edited by JMA; 09-08-2012 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 09-09-2012   #11
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Gurkha:

I second JMA's request.

I also request, if you can, that you expand on your following comment because it is very interesting. It shows some mature wisdom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurkha View Post
I also think that the very real threat of Human Rights prosecution forced us to conduct a more restricted military campaign which has contributed to this strategic victory. As platoon & company commanders we chafed at it, but in hindsight I think that was one of the best things that happened. When I read about nightime raids and the way the US forces operated in Iraq & Afghanistan I feel that cultural alienation plays a major part in generation of hatred & the accompanying military failure. If one does nightime raids in a culture where women are hidden in Burqas..... what do you expect ? Did I ramble on a bit.... ?!
And welcome to SWJ. We, or at least me, are thrilled to have guys who aren't American.

One last request, what are good Indian sources that may cover some of the things you commented upon?
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Old 09-09-2012   #12
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Default A few interesting links on the Indian experience

http://www.indiandefencereview.com/n...tions-in-jk-i/

http://www.ipcs.org/publications/


THE INDIAN APPROACH TO COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONS

Colonel Behram A Sahukar, The Parachute Regiment, Indian Army retired
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Old 09-09-2012   #13
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In my experience, ultimately every army reflects the ethos, culture & beliefs of a nation in a very strong manner. Its members who join up are generally very patriotic, believe in their version of history & superiority of their culture.As one moves away from the officer cadre and the special forces components, who in general are more "intelligent" & aware ( I know, I know its a large generalisation !!), the vast majority, consisting of PBI, soon develop a hostile attitude towards the population. They do not and perhaps cannot, given their cultural orientation & poor education, empathise with
the locals. Since they form the face of the military instrument, the population begins to hate them leading to a failure in the CI campaign. People from this part of the world are culturally & religiously extra sensitive else, but many aspects of their culture are in vehement contrast to that of the average american.... hence the difficulties in WHAM (Winning Hearts & Minds). In our case while the cultural, religious & ethnic divide does exist, it is not as much, and in any case India is highly multi cultural & religious country and more importantly the Army is a real reflection of that diversity. With experience of the insurgencies of Nagaland, Punjab & Sri Lanka, we adjusted to the Kashmir scenario, though the extensive support by the Pakis did complicate things initially.
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Old 09-09-2012   #14
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Default Tactics

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Originally Posted by JMA View Post
I would like to hear/learn more about this aspect you speak of... if you have the time.

.
Essentially the doctrine called for

1. The use of min force & collateral damage.

2. Area domination.

3. Intelligence based operations.

4. WHAM.

As Kashmir was mountainous, the standard operating units was a rifle company averaging a strength of 50 - 60 men ( the balance 60 being away on leave, training courses, administrative details, base security etc.). This company would on average have about 100 sq km ( 10km by 10 km) or a small valley to cover. Based on informer intel, surveillance patrols, or police intel, the company would split into 7 - 8 teams and lay a combination of ambushes & cordon around villages at night. A search would be carried by day ( DAY ONLY). The police, including policewomen, would assist in controlling the civil population except in really remote villages where we would do it ourselves. Normally 3 -4 militants would be caught / killed in such operations. The area was also extensively dominated by patrols & ambushes to restrict freedom of movement. A very, very important reason for our success is that we were just not road or track bound. The hardiness of the average Indian soldier & the immense strength of the regimental system were critical factors in achieving tactical success. Also all that we would carry would be ammunition, no bullet-proof jackets, no helmets, little food & water. It helped very much to move light. In those days we didnt even have NVDs. A comparison with road bound , conscript & primarily mechanised armies like the Russians in Afghanistan will always see light infantry do better. In this light, please read the Bear Went over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan. I was quite taken aback when I read it : road bound operations, basic drills flouted & huge unwieldy columns detected from miles away. Apart from the SPETZNAZ, Airborne troops & to an extent their Naval Infantry, they appeared to have abysmal infantry skills & a very poor man management system of conscripts all of which lead to their military defeat. I wonder how you guys are doing it in Afghanistan.

Interesting reads :

http://www.amazon.com/Bear-Went-over.../dp/0788146653

http://www.specialoperations.com/mout/soviet16.html
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Old 09-09-2012   #15
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Posted by Gurkha

Quote:
The area was also extensively dominated by patrols & ambushes to restrict freedom of movement. A very, very important reason for our success is that we were just not road or track bound. The hardiness of the average Indian soldier & the immense strength of the regimental system were critical factors in achieving tactical success. Also all that we would carry would be ammunition, no bullet-proof jackets, no helmets, little food & water. It helped very much to move light. In those days we didnt even have NVDs. A comparison with road bound , conscript & primarily mechanised armies like the Russians in Afghanistan will always see light infantry do better. In this light, please read the Bear Went over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan. I was quite taken aback when I read it : road bound operations, basic drills flouted & huge unwieldy columns detected from miles away. Apart from the SPETZNAZ, Airborne troops & to an extent their Naval Infantry, they appeared to have abysmal infantry skills & a very poor man management system of conscripts all of which lead to their military defeat. I wonder how you guys are doing it in Afghanistan.
Thank you, this is the best post I have on SWJ in weeks! Highlights, font changes, etc. are all mine to emphasize what used to be common sense in our infantry and special ops ranks. I wonder if we can ever get back to the basics?

Of course we would need blue force trackers for every individual so staff and commanders in the rear could manage tactical operations based on their keen insights, and the rear echelon would also have to have the means to monitor water and caloric intake for each troop because the troops/conscripts couldn't be trusted to do it on their own, body armor would remain mandatory, otherwise someone could get hurt, and we wouldn't be allowed to move without ISR support. Other than that I think we could get back to the basics and actually take the initiative.
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Old 09-09-2012   #16
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Default Two questions

Gurkha,

I also recall a BBC documentary a few years ago, perhaps by Mark Tully, which found that locally recruited light infantry battalions had also contributed to Indian success. Given the numbers involved - from the main Indian Army - I assume these local units were only a small proportion of the total.

As Bill Moore commented your comparison with the Soviet experience in Afghanistan is noteworthy. Given the once strong Indo-Soviet/Russian relationship, including with the military, did that assist in observing and learning? For example by attendance at staff colleges.
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Old 09-09-2012   #17
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Red face You forgot the MRAPs...

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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Of course we would need blue force trackers for every individual ...body armor would remain mandatory, otherwise someone could get hurt, and we wouldn't be allowed to move without ISR support. Other than that I think we could get back to the basics and actually take the initiative.
Got to have Mobile Cocoons to protect the roadbound and inculcate reticence...

What Gurkha describes is what we were doing 46 years or so ago. It really worked -- until about 45 years ago we quit doing it and got road and hide bound. That mostly due to the pernicious influence of the one year tour (practically for too many/Officers and more than a few NCOs, two six month tours doing two different things in different places) and excessive politicization.

It is noteworthy that politically driven efforts to reduce own casualties almost certainly produced far more casualties all sorts including our own and resulted in a failure to achieve the objectives...

Now, we're worse. We've lost our minds...
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Old 09-09-2012   #18
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Gurkha has raised valid operational issues that has contributed to why the IA has been successful.

The IA does not take it that they are operating in a foreign land. Yes, there are cultural differences (as in every part of the country), but that fact does not niggle since we are all Indians.

Body armour is important, but the Indian body armour is so heavy that very few wear it and hence quite some casualties occur.

The IA infantry has never been road bound or supplies bound. It is capable of being self contained for more than a week. Been there, done that!

And what is most important that make it a win win is that we do not fire first and ask questions later. We draw fire and then we take action and this is seen by all who are there on the spot to include civilians.

There is no gung ho attitude and instead as if it is in the routine of a day's work, even though unpleasant.

I am looking forward to more posts of Gurkha.

Last edited by Ray; 09-09-2012 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 09-09-2012   #19
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Default Interesting about night....

Quote:
There is no gung ho attitude and instead as if it is in the routine of a day's work, even though unpleasant.
A touch of reflexive antipathy, or perhaps I am mistaken?



@ Gurkha: At any rate, interesting about day versus night. I thought the opposite was true during the Punjab insurgency, that night time meetings were important and used for a time to suggest more troops and police? But it seems that different approaches were tried at different times and in different ways in different places, because of multiple insurgencies in different parts of the country. Makes sense, I guess.

Interesting comments. To quote carl, this forever civilian looks forward to hearing more

Did WHAM didn't have as much of a place in that insurgency, or was it approached differently? I admit, it's difficult stateside to get good information, because there are so many parties to various conflicts that prepare a kind of mental space within American media and academia. I'm not saying that a particular claim is true or false, just that it's hard to know who is downplaying human rights violations and who is exaggerating said incidents. Also, Western human rights groups and academics have a tendency to inadvertently side with one group versus another, often due to the concerns of a particular diaspora. Some members of a diaspora are more concerned with overseas events and are persistent and interested in getting a message across. Just tough to know, to get an honest assessment from a distance. It really is quite a difficult environment, in terms of truth-getting. At least, that's what it feels like.

Last edited by Madhu; 09-09-2012 at 08:51 PM. Reason: Added more to the comment; correcting errors.
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Old 09-10-2012   #20
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Quote:
When I read about nightime raids and the way the US forces operated in Iraq & Afghanistan I feel that cultural alienation plays a major part in generation of hatred & the accompanying military failure.
An important issue that must not be lost sight of.

But then, it is not easy for those who have a totally different psychology and lifestyle to understand.

When I stated that we do not have that 'gung ho' attitude, what I meant was that we do not have that 'win at all cost without a loss to own lives'. In fact, it is a good philosophy that whatever be the task not a single own lives should be lost.

However, the mindset is not that in the Indian Army. Win, and of that there is no doubt, but in a more 'peaceable' way, with minimal damage to those not involved in the battle and being ready to explain each action as to why it had to be taken and could not be avoided.

There are many reasons for it, cultural, religious, and the dread of harassment through inquiries if an operation is botched up. The command style is Befehlstaktik, based on a 'no error' syndrome. And worse, is that any trumped up complaint is nightmare to the Army personnel, with all organisations including the State and Central Govt and the pinkos of the Human Rights, to include the bleeding heart one sided international conscience keepers, swooping down like vultures!

India is not the US to shrug off complaints and tell all to take a walk.

Therefore, the scope to be 'gung ho' is highly limited and even non existent!

On the issue of Search. One has to search by day so that no innocent is killed. If a person attempts to escape the search, it is obvious that that person is not clean. At night, even innocents may feel that the cover of darkness is good enough to leave the scene and avoid the questioning. And that can lead to innocents being killed. None would appreciate that.

Civic action what the Indian Army has launched under Op Sadbhavna where the IA on its own and with its own funds are opening up schools in all areas including remote areas. electrifying villages, improving sanitation, building bridges, taking children to mainland India to see for themselves what is India, is helping the effort in reducing insurgency.

What people want is a better life.

Religion alone cannot give one a better life and all understand that.

And as Gurkha has said, Pakistan is in a shamble economically and there is total chaos even religion wise, where sects are ruthlessly killing each other.

They realise that such things are not happening in Kashmir, where the economy is way higher and there is no ruthless killing of Shias by Sunnis and vice versa.

And the Hurriyat is slowly becoming redundant!

Last edited by Ray; 09-10-2012 at 09:25 AM.
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