Peace, Within and Without

Peace, Within and Without
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‘Black Cat’ commandos of the elite counter-insurgency force NSG are likely to be deployed soon in Jammu and Kashmir to help forces in dealing with encounters and “hostage-like situations”. The NSG was raised in 1984 in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star, which was carried out to flush out militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Punjab’s Amritsar. The inference that can be drawn from this particular move is that when and if an encounter which is of a delicate nature is to take place, the NSG commandoes would not only constitute a “force multiplier” for the forces involved in a given encounter and supplement then but also this addition would make the encounter with militants “surgical” given the nature, training and expertise of these commandoes. Another implication would be that there would be, from the point of powers that be and the forces less or minimal “collateral damage”. The reference here is to civilian killings that follow or ensue. While the incorrect phraseology employed as a rationale for this potential move might constitute an academic quibble, but the implications are clear: targeted force will be employed in the future if this “policy” actually pans out. Yet again, the move constitutes the primacy of hard power (force) over politics in terms of and with reference to Kashmir. It is not rocket science to make the assessment and arrive at the conclusion that force has not, historically and even contemporarily, across the canvas of political conflicts, across space and time, been a solvent of these conflicts. This generic observation applies to Kashmir too. Admittedly, the mood, within and without Kashmir, is anti political but this cannot and must not mean abdication of politics as a tool for conflict resolution. In the context and frame of Kashmir, what should and must be done is to create space for the primacy of the political. Broken down, this must mean a conflict resolution paradigm buttressed and underpinned by robust, well meaning and genuine diplomacy whose end goal is resolution of the conflict and thereby crystallizing a paradigm that leads to peace within, without and beyond. Application of mere force will and can only undermine this larger and nobler goal of peace. In the final analysis, peace is correlated with security and security must not be a zero sum game. It must be holistic and devised for the benefit of all. Let this be the operating premise that defines the approach towards Kashmir and let a conflict resolution paradigm that redounds to the benefit of all stakeholders be instituted.