Kashmir’s fragility [GS Paper II- International Relations]

Kashmir’s fragility [GS Paper II- International Relations]

CONTEXT : In the last few weeks, several civilians as well as security and armed forces personnel, have been killed by terrorists. In many parts of Kashmir, there is a prevailing sentiment of fear nowadays. 

Reaction of current situation →  the exodus of Hindus (Kashmiri Pandits) and migrant labour, fearing for their lives and future.

However, Incidents of violence have continued.

The recent outbreak of violence shows that the situation is fragile. 


Pakistan has always tended to be a factor in the ground situation in Kashmir. Kashmir is reflecting the same attitude as many post-conflict, pre-modern, hybrid societies with mixed populations.

Kashmir has neighbours like Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, which leaves little scope for experimentation. As violence hiked in J&K, it became common place to link it with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. 

Currently, Geopolitics cannot be ignored. The sudden increase in kashmir violence needs a careful analysis of several dimensions and facts rather than simplistic answers and excuses like that of Taliban in the current Kashmir issue.

India is wedged between Pakistan and China, as a Talibanised Afghanistan being a neighbour and there is a resurgence of International terror groups, like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.


  • China’s continuing cooperation with Pakistan in different matters

  • China’s growing assertiveness with regard to its territorial claims, vis-à-vis India

  •  China opposed the prominence given to India by the West in both Asian and global forums.

 All such incident helped cement the nexus between China and Pakistan.

 Intertwined with this is again the battle raging for spheres of influence between China and India, which has intensified under China’s President Xi Jinping. China is intended to establish an Asian system in which China sits at the summit of a hierarchical regional order. All this is altering the ground realities and it is worth considering whether Kashmir is emerging as a pressure point in this context.

Intelligence is critical :

There is a need for hard and better intelligence. Hard intelligence is critical to avoid misperceptions and miscalculations.

Moreover, as intelligence agencies become more wedded to technology, they need to realise that technology advancement is needed.

The improvement in analysis and to provide decision-makers with information is needed.

Lapses done by western Intelligence agencies-

  •  The serious miscalculation about Iraqi President Saddam Hussein possessing nuclear weapons based on wrong intelligence led to unnecessary involvement by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Iraq, followed by an unfortunate train of events that continues to haunt the world to this day.

  • Misreading, misunderstanding and failing to anticipate the role of Sayyid Qutb and his preachings which later set the stage for the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York and other targets in the U.S. 

Had they understood what Sayyid Qutb preached, viz., that martyrdom was a necessary part of 20th century jihad, they would not have underestimated the influence exerted by Islamist theology on the terrorist mindset.

 To understand the nature of current events as a precursor of future threats,  the ‘missing dimensions’ of intelligence in most cases , need to be understood, viz., thinking imaginatively and improving analytical capabilities.

 The focus of intelligence agencies, limited to current events such as-

  • Tensions with China on the border

  • Pakistan’s attempts to push in ‘irregulars’ and aid the Lashkar and Jaish elements to cross over into India, may prove self-defeating. 

The arc of intelligence needs to be much wider and Indian intelligence agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau, the Research & Analysis Wing as also the National Security Council Secretariat should ensure that they have the necessary capabilities.

To limit what is happening in J&K solely to the impetus created by a Talibanised Afghanistan could cost India dear

Although the danger of ‘intelligence adjustment’ are also linked to it, viz., avoiding challenging conventional assumptions, which could undermine their ability to provide a more accurate picture of the larger threat. 

Nowadays, when India faces problems all around it, to limit what is happening in Kashmir solely to the impetus created by a Talibanised Afghanistan without fully analysing all the facts could cost the country dear.

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