A pattern can now be detected in Kashmir: the force employed to combat militants is met with counterforce by militants. The Shopian attack that took place in the wee hours of Thursday validates this pattern. Yes, there is an asymmetry involved in the casualties that attacks and counterattacks generate but this is what asymmetric war was is all about: a militarily weaker adversary is engaged in mortal combat with a stronger adversary. The saga of attacks and counter attacks goes on with no clear winners or losers emerging from it. The larger point is there can really be no military or militarized approach that will settle Kashmir once for all. What is needed is a political approach that is premised on a multi-stakeholder paradigm. The reasons accrue from the nature of militancy in Kashmir, which are a manifestation of deep and wide sentiment that obtains here. There is an echo of Mao Tse Tung here who, during his guerrilla days, famously stated that “guerrillas must move among the people as a fish swims in water”. The implication of Mao’s analogy, where water stands as a metaphor for people, is as that as long as guerrillas have the support of the people, they can not only survive but also thrive. In Kashmir, this stark reality is corroborated by the huge number of people who had been coming out in droves to help militants trapped in encounters and thousands of others who turn up at militants’ funerals. The inference that can be drawn here is that militants enjoy considerable support in Kashmir. Moreover, from an insurgency point of view, only a handful of active militants are needed to create conditions of considerable violence. This, in the context of Kashmir, is overlaid by the fact that militant killings are not a deterrent for young Kashmiris but an inspiration. The lessons that can be drawn by powers that be are sober and sobering: killing militants will neither resolve the conflict in Kashmir and more will be inspired to join militant ranks thereby exacerbating the conflict. Instead of dealing with the conflict in Kashmir with a militarized approach, prudence suggests that politics and statecraft of a prudent and sagacious nature should be accorded primacy. Broken down, this means instituting a multi-stakeholder approach that looks at the conflict in and over Kashmir in a holistic and integral manner and then devises a robust plan to follow through. All other approaches are doomed, to say the least.