Can the Doval Doctrine Kill an Idea?

Can the Doval Doctrine Kill an Idea?

The past few weeks have witnessed a series and serial killing of militants in Kashmir. Only yesterday, four militants were killed in Kulgam district of Kashmir. This follows a spate of killings that have taken place here after the ebbing of protest movement after Burhan Wani’s killing. The killings also come against the backdrop of the promise of peace and a ‘reach out’ towards those who resist a certain narrative on Kashmir. What then explains the killings? At one level, it would appear that the killings constitute the rough edges of what has been the ‘Doval Doctrine’. Named after India’s infamous spy maestro, the doctrine brooks no so called soft approaches towards security; it unabashedly calls for a hard power and hard approach towards dealing with issues. The larger premise is the force, coercion and strong arm tactics are the best way of dealing with issues- especially ones that pertain to India’s National Security. Given this, it would appear that the state has revamped and reviewed its approach towards combating or dealing with militancy in Kashmir and is going whole hog with a hard power approach. The state is then following the Doval Doctrine in letter and spirit. But this goes against the stated premises of the PDP’s promises of a reach out of building peace constituencies in Kashmir. The larger inference that can be drawn here is that multiple power centres operate in Kashmir which either work at cross purposes with each other or some are subservient to the other. But this is not the only point. If the state’s idea is to squelch militancy by neutralizing militants, then it is not only a flawed approach but goes against history. A long duree understanding of history demonstrates that hard power and coercive approaches hardly work; they may have a short term impact but longer term , they don’t work .Period. Moreover, Ideas and emotions buttressing ideas have a dynamic and life of their own. And ideas cannot be killed. This pertains to Kashmir and the conflict in and over it. Peace can dawn on Kashmir only when the conflict is resolved. Resolution of the conflict falls in the domain of the political. It is only when politics of prudence underpinned by statecraft that adopts a multi stakeholder approach becomes the bedrock approach towards Kashmir that peace can descend here. Doval or no Doval, this is what history and the historical process eloquently suggests. In the final analysis, we are all footnotes to a larger tapestry of history that continues to unfold globally and locally and this history will continue its march regardless of the main protagonists. But what we can, as conscientious people do is give this history a shove in a healthy direction. Will this happen? Not till power and power politics run the roost.

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