Militarization of Politics?

Militarization of Politics?
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The saying attributed to a wit which posits that, “wars should not be fought by generals” holds a resonance in terms of Kashmir. The reference here is to Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat who has, among other things, said that “These numbers (of militants who are killed in gun battles with the army) don’t matter to me because I know this cycle will continue. There are fresh recruitments happening. I only want to stress that all this is futile; nothing is going to be achieved by them. You can’t fight the army”. Here, it appears that it is an army man’s reflex operating. But, all said and done, the conflict in and over Kashmir is not about the military or hard power and its application or use. It is supremely political. If and when a political conflict gets militarized, it can only lead to a zero sum thinking and condition where the political either becomes secondary or is subsumed by the militarization of politics. Under zero sum conditions, one party’s loss or victory becomes the other party’s loss or victory which leads to a hardening of attitudes and the “freezing of conflicts”, a condition which can not only not be sanguine but is deleterious for all. In terms of Kashmir, according primacy to hard power and the subsumption of politics under the rubric of power, the same condition would kick in. What then is the way out? The answer is obvious: given that the issue is political, primacy should be accorded to the political. The reference here is not to mere conventional politics or politicking but rather dealing with a condition politically. This is not in the nature of a non sequitur but the actual way out. The primacy of the political would mean and entail again the obvious: create, devise and crystallize a robust conflict resolution paradigm that redounds to the benefit of all. This would axiomatically entail climbing down from the perch of zero sum thinking to one where the art of the possible becomes real. It goes without saying that the sine qua non of this approach would be sincerity and the will to beyond sterile and hackneyed approaches. Kashmir, South Asia and even the world is at a delicate point. But, the redeeming feature of this condition is that is statesmanship, prudent politics and sincerity upend past paradigms, then the whole region would have something bold and beautiful in store for it. Let the tea leaves be read and opportunity for peace be created and grasped.

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