Recent Trends of Terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir

Context: There has been increasing trend of terrorism in the Jammu region of UT of J&K in the recent past. 

Changes in terrorism landscape of Jammu & Kashmir 

  • Broad declining trend in terrorism in J&K: According to Union Home Ministry, between 2017 and 2022 there has been broad decline in terror related incidents in the region. This is reflected by following data: number of infiltrators has fallen from 53 to 14, civilians killed from 55 to 31 and terrorist-initiated incidents from 228 to 125.
  • Widening in the geography of terrorism to include Jammu region: In recent times, there has been a broader shift of terrorist activity across the Pir Panjal range to the Jammu region from the Kashmir Valley. This year alone, there have been at least 6 major incidents in the Jammu region, including the death of 9 people in Reasi in an attack on bus carrying pilgrims. 

Factors for increasing terrorism in recent times:

  • Approaching elections in J&K: Supreme Court has given a deadline to hold elections by September 30 in UT of J&K. As these elections are fast approaching terrorists and their backers have stepped up their activity damage the chances of return to political normalcy.
  • Healthy Participation in Lok Sabha elections: Voter turnout in the Kashmir region was around 58.6% which is the highest in past 35 years. This shows enhanced trust among the citizens in the electoral process. Terrorist groups and Pakistan particularly who want to show the apathy of the citizen of J&K towards the Indian state must not be happy with this development. Hence, have increased their activity.
  • Strategic repositioning of forces towards Eastern Ladakh: Due to the enhanced security challenges being posed by China along the Ladakh and Arunachal Borders, the large majority of armed forces has shifted from the Kashmir region to Ladakh and Arunachal. This has created a security vaccuium in the J&K region making it easier for terrorist groups to attack. 
  • Greater reliance on local terrorists: As the India’s border security infrastructure has improved in recent times, the strategy of terrorist groups has been increasingly to radicalise and hire local youth as terrorists. This also helps to keep their propaganda that terrorism in J&K is home grown born out of of apathy of local citizens against the Indian state alive. 
  • New techniques and technologies employed by terrorists: Terrorists have started to use new techniques which are easily available such as drones, telegram groups etc. These allow terrorist groups to bypass the eyes of Indian intelligence agencies.
  • Rise of new terror groups: In recent years, there has been rise of new terror outfits in the region which are either offshoots of older terror groups such as JeM, Hizbul Mujahideen like The Resistance Front, 
  • Pakistan’s policy of state support to terrorism in J&K: Even since the Independence, Pakistan has maintained that it has moral right over province of J&K as it is Muslim majority and by the principle of ‘Two-State Solution’ should have gone to Pakistan. Pakistan has tried to enforce many warns on the issue of J&K and each time has been successfully defeated by India. As the overt military adventures of Pakistan failed, Pakistan started supporting terror groups in the valley to push its agenda of antagonizing citizens against India.
  • Attitude of Pakistan’s military: Pakistan Army is the most important power centre in the political landscape of Pakistan. The Pakistani Army has a vested interest in keeping the security pot boiling between India and Pakistan, which increases their legitimacy and high budgets. 
  • Lost generation of youth: Large population of youth in the region remains alienated from the Indian state due to lack of economic opportunities in the past two decades and widespread terrorism and violence in the region which has made them loose family members. Often they fall into the fishing net of terror recruiters and succumb to resorting terrorism.
  • Radical Islam: Kashmir’s sufi version of Islam has been increasingly replaced by a wahabi cult of islam which thrives on the philosophy of jehad against the Indian state. The earlier movement for self-dependence has increasingly taken a communal colour rooted against the minority hindu and other religions of India.  
  • India’s security centric response to Pakistani terrorism: Ever since the 2008 Mumbai Terror attack, India has followed the policy of ‘talks and terror cannot go together’. However, this overt reliance on security to stop Pakistan’s support of terrorism has not resulted into complete stoppage of terrorism from Pakistan. However, changing the behaviour of Pakistan should demand both a mix of diplomatic and security measures.

Way forward:

Security related measures: 

  • Boosting border security to reduce infiltration of terrorists, ammunitions and other support from Pakistan into Kashmir. 
  • Empowerment of J&K Police with state of the art technology and manpower who are the first respondents in terror related cases.
  • Improving intelligence capabilities of security forces like the Army in the region to have better control of terrorism.
  • Arrest routes of terror financing the region to plug the flow of funds which are used to finance terrorism.
  • Better training in counter insurgency operations and strict adherence to standard operating protocols to reduce casualities among the armed forces. 

Confidence building measures:

  • Normalisation of provincial democratic system in the region while increase the trust of the people in the region in India’s constitution and liberal values.
  • Addressing the alienation of citizens by focusing on economic and human development. 
  • Special economic package and tax rebates for greenfield industries in the region.

Foreign policy related measures:

  • India should try to present credible evidence of support of Pakistan to terror groups on global forums like UN. 
Share this with friends ->