‘Kill every terrorist in the valley in next 2 months’, Is this Modi government’s message to the army?

The usual reactive strategy in Kashmir is over. The usual hesitance in rooting out anti-national elements in the state is a thing of the past. Things have changed drastically in the last few months, and a new discourse has been set by the Modi government in dealing with problems in Kashmir.

Regular terror attacks on troops, relentless stone-pelting, ceasefire violations from across the border – the situation in Kashmir was as it’s always been, if not worsened a tad. For decades, the primary reason for the fragile conditions in Kashmir has been a lack of political will. But no more.

After a gap of decades, CASO (Cordon and Search Operations) and SADO (Search and Destroy Operations) were again adopted by the Indian Army in the Valley. This signalled a massive shift in stance of the government in giving more freedom to the forces on the ground.

Then the Army struck Pakistani posts as punitive fire assaults. These posts were those ones that abetted in pushing terrorists onto Indian soil. They provided cover fire to terrorists. This signalled another crucial change in the way India dealt with Pakistan. The signal was clear – India is no more a soft state.

And now the Narendra Modi government has given a goal to the Army to achieve which will make every Indian proud. The government has given the Army a free hand and asked it to kill every terrorist in the Valley in the next two months.

A highly placed source said that the tempo is up and the Army is going for the kill as there is no other way to deal with terrorists. It said that the approach is more aggressive and while engaging with terrorists there is no scope for dialogue. They have to be gunned down and there is no two ways about it.

Defence minister Arun Jaitley emphasised that the force was not only dominating the LoC but also applying pressure on militant cadres. The Army sent 4,000 of its men into the Valley to eradicate the terrorists, while those police personnel with residences in South Kashmir have been advised not to go home for another 2 months.

There has been immense criticism of Prime Minister Modi’s choice to pick Arun Jaitley as the defence minister. But I believe he’s doing a terrific job. Bringing back CASO and SADO, punitive assaults on Pakistan, and now freedom to the Army to take on terrorists in the Valley.

Some people were too quick to judge the decision, while others were neck-deep in their preconceived notions because of which they presumed that Arun Jaitley would make a meal of the job. But one should trust Narendra Modi’s judgment above all, and if he’s made Jaitley the defence minister, then he has put thought behind it.

Vinayak Jain