The BJP’s 2014 manifesto reiterated the cornerstone of India’s policy on Jammu and Kashmir – that the state would remain an integral part of the Union of India. It also promised the return of Kashmiri Pandits and protect the rights of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) refugees. It laid special emphasis on enhancing the connectivity within the region and to the rest of the country and promise the issue of infiltration and illegal immigrants in the Northeast on priority basis.
It promised comprehensive national security – borders, military, economic, cyber, energy, food, water, health and social cohesion and harmony. The BJP was to revive anti-terror mechanism dismantled by the Congress. Also, the BJP promised to strengthen Civil Defence and Home Guards – for community defence and disaster management. It also promised to draft a national plan in consultation with state governments – to address Maoist insurgency.
When it came to police reform, the BJP promised networking of police stations across the country – for intelligence sharing and crime control. Specialised expertise in investigation through continuous training. Overhaul intelligence set-up – focus on coordination and integration of human and technological intel. Evolving common national standards and protocols.
What Was Delivered?
As far as Kashmir is concerned, the NDA government has claimed that it has been able to contain infiltration in Kashmir and been able to exert pressure on Pakistan directly and through international fora to scale down its support to Kashmiri militants.
But the claims may be somewhat far-fetched. Under the Modi government, the country saw three major terrorist strikes, at Uri, Pathankot and at Pulwama. Its muscular policy in Kashmir, against the militants and the population in the valley, may have resulted in some unforeseen results including greater recruitment to militants’ ranks and greater alienation of the population. Worse still, the refusal to separate Pakistani interference in the valley with the genuine democratic aspirations of the Kashmiris may have made a political solution more remote than ever.
In southern districts of Kashmir, recruitment of locals to the militancy has been burgeoning, from 21 and 16 in 2012 and 2013, it shot up to 88 and 126 in 2016 and 2017.
If only the terrorist incidents are taken as a measurement, the levels of militant activity over the five years prior to 2014 and five years since then, the levels of militant activity over the two periods are very similar.
Between 2009 and 2013, under the Congress-led government, there were a total of 1,717 incidents. From 2014 to 2018, under the BJP, there were 1,708. In other words, on Kashmir, the delivery has been one step forward, two back.
As far as the Maoist challenge is concerned, there has been progress in terms of surrenders and killing of the Maoist cadres. But it also has to be noted that while in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the LWE threat has come down, the Maoists are still able to launch major strikes in Chhattisgarh. The improvement in infrastructure and in morale of the security forces have substantially contributed to success in this case.
As far as the Northeast is concerned, the Naga accord has been a non-starter, with not even the contents being revealed. The Naga factions with which the accord was signed are still underground, and the Naga and Manipuri rebels are still active across the border in Myanmar, in the virtual no-man’s land where the Myanmarese army’s writ doesn’t run. Two operations, one in collaboration with the Bhutanese army in Bhutan, and one cross-border raid in Myanmar brought some gains, but long-term peace in the Northeast may still be far away.
FORCE spoke to former home secretary GK Pillai who gave his views on the NDA government’s steps to tackle the issue of internal security. When it came to the Centre’s steps to tackle terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, Pillai noted that the results from the Centre’s efforts were 50/50. “You kill some terrorists, you miss some. The situation is still very bad and perhaps slightly worse than before,” he said.
Pillai, however, gave more marks to the NDA government on dealing with the Maoist challenge.
“LWE had been tackled by NDA government and their efforts have achieved good results. The Centre has been able to confine the extremists to small pockets.”
On the sensitive issue of the Northeast regions, Pillai dismissed the Naga Peace accord as nothing but a framework agreement. “There is a lot of discontent among the Nagas over the unfulfilled promises made,” he added.
The manifold challenges of internal security, and how the government plans to tackle it
Jammu and Kashmir – Article 370
In the last five years, BJP claims to have made all necessary efforts to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir through decisive actions and a firm policy
Jammu and Kashmir
The Congress claims it has long held the view that dialogue is the only way to understand the aspirations of the people of the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir and find an honourable solution to their issues and promises.