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Silver Lining in the State of Jammu and Kashmir

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– Shantanu Mukharji

It is quite a challenge to deal with a situation not only from the routine law and order point of view, but also when there is continued extraneous interference by a country like Pakistan.

The case under reference is the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) which is now seeing return to normalcy with easing of restoration of communication in terms of internet and telephonic links.

Other than this, there are sustained efforts by the government to win the confidence and hearts of the Kashmiri people. Very recently, a group of foreign envoys based in India, paid a visit to J&K for a first-hand assessment of the ground realities. Earlier, many parliamentarians from European countries had also visited the state. This shows that the government is not concealing anything contrary to the negative propaganda carried out by Pakistan on numerous occasions.

In another related development, the J&K government has intensified efforts, which are more than visible, to woo investors in the state towards robust economic development including in generation of employment to the youth. In the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 in the state, a batch of business delegates met the state administration leadership recently in run up to the Global Investors Summit scheduled in March/April this year in capital Srinagar and Jammu. The recent business meet was participated by largest textile factory – The Chenab Textiles, Price Water House Coopers, Ernst and Young and Confederation of Indian Industry.

Simultaneously, efforts are afoot to exploit huge mining reserves available in the state. There is new look on the anvil to invite local industrialists as also to drastically revise the land allotment policy to install a sense of entrepreneurship comfort amongst the promising investors. Talking about improving a robust economy in the state of J&K, it is also pertinent to mention at this juncture that the economy of Kashmir valley is essentially based on apple trade, dry fruits and exquisite handicrafts in addition to the tourism. Such areas of activities, however, faced a noticeable decline due to several decades of militancy in the state. Significantly, the apple trade was the worst affected in the aftermath of the state becoming tri-furcated following abrogation of Article 370. In order to confront the government of India and the J&K state administration, the different terror outfits attempted to paralyze the apple trade by resorting to indiscriminate killings of the transporters ferrying apple outside the state to consumers. Ironically, the state had come to such a pass that the farmers looked distraught and crestfallen. However, with the muscular support from the government agencies, without caving in to the terror threats, the local farmers also cooperated with the law enforcing agencies bringing dividends to the declining apple trade. The trend was arrested and according to statistics available as in mid-December, 2019 total volume of apple trade stood at 1692255.42 metric tons as against 1585522.46 recorded in the preceding year. Hence, it is seen that due to untiring efforts by the respective governments, the terrorists could not inflict any damage to the apple trade nor were they able to demoralise the Kashmiri apple traders.

This said, Pakistan continues to abet terror in the state, which has started showing signs of good health. To effectively counter the terror menace perpetrated from across the border, 3 dreaded terrorists belonging to the menacing outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) were very recently neutralised. This seems to be a major setback to the Pakistan sponsored terror campaigns and such a tirade is expected to continue to uproot the terror threat emanating from bordering Pakistan.

To deal with several cases of radicalisation of youth with religious indoctrination, the police leadership in the state is supportive of radicalisation centres to bring back the strayed youth in the social mainstream and they are already at it, addressing the crucial issue.

Judging by the ongoing positive developments in the state of J&K, it would appear imperative, that very soon, the terror menace will take a back seat and then state is expected to witness all round economic progress and the same will be acknowledged by the international quarters and all stake holders. Such pro active measures are also likely to reject the adverse publicity Pakistan is whipping through psychological and proxy warfare.

[Writer is an India based security analyst and a commentator on topical issues. The views expressed are personal.]

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