India's strategic shift in Kashmir Policy
NEW DEHLI: In the last few days there have been visible signs of a remarkable shift in India's foreign policy. It remains to be seen how the script pans out but the killing of Burhan Wani and turning of his martyrdom into an inflection point for Kashmir insurgency seems to have finally opened the eyes of Indian strategists. The green shoots of a new muscular, counter-offensive strategy is visible.
The line of a new tactic, first articulated through external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup and then hammered out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an all-party meeting on Kashmir on Friday is clear.
India will categorically reclaim its writ over Azad Kashmir, no longer tolerate interference in matters internal and intrinsic to India's sovereignty, rebuff Pakistan's efforts of whitewashing cross-border terrorism and most significantly, expose globally its gross human rights violations, brutalities and untold atrocities in Balochistan and Azad Kashmir.
Turning the tables on Pakistan which has always sought to include Kashmir within the ambit of bilateral talks, Modi said: "When we talk about Jammu and Kashmir, we should talk about four parts of Jammu and Kashmir —Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and Pakistani," thus totally redrawing the contours.
His categorical statement that "Pakistani Kashmir is ours", is as big a strategic shift as any. This denies Pakistan the right to peddle a one-sided narrative on Kashmir and simultaneously stonewalls China's long-term ambitions in altering the ground situation in South Asia. This is of huge significance.
Defence analyst Alok Bansal who has earlier widely commented on the radicalisation of Kashmiri youth and the dangers posed by influence of the Islamic State in Kashmir, told ANI that Modi's statement on Pakistani Kashmir is an important step.
The article first appeared in First Post.