Politico-military strategy needed to resolve Kashmir: Former northern army commander

Srinagar: The former General Operations Commanding (GOC) of the Northern Command of Indian army Lt General (Retd) DS Hooda on Friday said that there is alienation, anger and anguish among the people and a growing sense of radicalisation that can be gauged by the fact that more youths are joining militants.

Speaking to the News Click’s Gautam Navlakha, Hooda spoke about the situation in Kashmir and the challenges the Army faces in the conflict region.

Hooda said that there are two dimensions to Kashmir problem.

“There is this transnational dimension that comes in from Pakistan like infiltration, weapons and funding. That is one dimension which manifests on the border.

“The kind of ceasefire violations are also an attempt, I feel, by Pakistan to keep this issue alive internationally.”

Second dimension, he said, is the internal dimension. “I think both these dimensions need to be looked at equally.”

Typically, he said, the military always talks about one centre of gravity. But, “I have always believed in Kashmir, there are two centres of gravity and both need to be tackled equally.”

Calling absence of a political objective in Jammu and Kashmir a tragedy, Hooda said, “I believe, there has not been a clearly defined political objective in Jammu and Kashmir where the government says ‘this is what we need you (the military) to do’.”

“Because of this mismatch of the “clearly defined political objectives” and “the military objectives”, he said “we often hear statements that the military has brought the situation under control”. “But, unfortunately the political solutions that were to follow have not taken place and therefore we don’t find a resolution to Kashmir.”

Hooda said: “I think we now need to start changing our outlook… And saying that we need a politico-military strategy.”

He said that the government too often says that military will do its own job and politics will do its own job.  “So I am saying we need a clearly defined political objective and from the political objective will flow how the military should be acting.”

Talking about the operation all out, and the increase in the cordon and search operations, he said, “I think it is counter productive and alienates people.”

Talking about the narratives and the perceptions, Hooda said, “I think what is missing is what other steps do we need to take. What narratives we create what perceptions do we need to create.”

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