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Former Indian army general blames govt for failure to resolve Kashmir

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‘Unpopular coalition govt couldn’t provide healing touch’

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Srinagar, Dec 06: A former army general has said the army had created an environment to resolve Kashmir but the elected governments failed to find any solution to the vexed issue.

Lt Gen (Retd) H S Panag, who was posted as GOC of the Army’s Udhampur-headquartered Northern Command, wrote in ‘The Print’ that the “unpopular coalition government could not provide the healing touch in Jammu and Kashmir.”

In his column, Panag claimed both the insurgents and the government have a political aim and evolve a political strategy, which drives their military strategy.

“Both strive to win the hearts and minds of the people to garner their support,” he said.

“The current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the Valley, is a classic example of our dithering political strategy,” he wrote in the article.

Panag putting his argument over the resolution of vexed Kashmir issue said the Indian Army had created an enabling environment for politics to take centre-stage and resolve the problem. “Politics did come to the fore, but instead of a solution we saw the revival of the insurgency,” he said.

While quoting military theorist Carl von Clausewitz, who has said that ‘war is not a performance of senseless passion, but is controlled by political objective’ the former general said this is equally true for an insurgency.

“Insurgents use force to undermine the state’s authority and to coerce the population to toe their line. The government, on the other hand, uses force to neutralise the insurgents and ensure that its writ runs in the state to bring about economic well-being of the people and resolve their political grievances,” Panag said.

He said once a conducive environment has been created, politics must take centre-stage and military must fade into the background.

“There are some historical examples where predominantly force or military means have been used to neutralise insurgencies. However, the same is not possible in a multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual democracy like India,” he concluded.

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