Since the creation of the problem way back in 1947, Kashmir has been the bone of contention between India and Pakistan. We have fought four major wars in 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 respectively in addition to numerous medium and large theatre level conflicts. This is in addition to a three-decade-long Militancy in the so-called “Heaven of the Earth”.Also Read - ‘BJP After All Our Mosques; The Kashmir Files Responsible For Violence In Valley’: Mehbooba Mufti
After assuming the top position in this country in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cracked down on the terrorists and this campaign intensified in 2017-18 when Indian Army launched “Operation All Out” which was aimed to neutralise the leadership of terror tanzims and finishing the terror modules from the valley. Also Read - Massive Fire Breaks Out In Forest Areas Of Jammu and Kashmir, Firefighting Operation Underway
The year 2018 has been the most fruitful when Indian Forces were able to kill 257 terrorists. In 2019, the number was 174 while in 2020 (till 10th November 2020) 191 terrorists were neutralised out of which more than 20 were foreign mercenaries. This is a big success. I recall my days in 2000-2001 when more than 1000 terrorists were killed by the security forces every year but those were different times, the number of terrorists operating too was very high and it was assumed that more than 10000 were operating in Kashmir valley alone at one point of time. Also Read - 'Leave Or Face Death': Terror Group In Threat Letter To Kashmiri Pandits In J&K's Pulwama
Today just 170-180 terrorists are active in Kashmir Valley. This number is reducing at a very high speed with a smaller number of new recruitments and a higher rate of anti-terror operations. If anti-terror operations continue at the same pace, we may assume the complete eradication of terrorism from the valley by end of 2022. This is a positive sign.
Recent “Operation All Out” revealed one more significant thing. This is the robust and accurate intelligence network of the security forces. Locals are coming forward to give information and the whereabouts of terrorists. They are no longer afraid of them. That’s why we saw most of the senior commanders run away from their area of operation in South Kashmir and were killed while hiding in Srinagar City in disguise. They no longer felt safe anywhere.
As a result of “Operation All Out”, most of the senior commanders, trainers and role models for terrorists have been eliminated in the last three years, and the average lifespan of a terrorist is reduced to little more than three months. Since infiltration is also under strict check, nearly all terror groups are witnessing shortage or absence of trainers, leaders or influencers. There is a difference in the trends of the last decade and now. Earlier after recruitment, a terrorist used to undergo tough training in the high hills of Kashmir or in the training camps at Pakistan/ POK for a few months. Simultaneously he was brainwashed and was sent for active operations only when leaders of the group are sure about him. Nowadays, a terrorist picks up weapons, goes to hills/ villages and stays there till he is neutralised by the security forces. New recruits with few months into the terror outfit become senior commanders. Since they themselves are poorly trained, they are unable to influence their team.
The motive of “Operation All Out” was clear. Wipe off the terror leadership and their key recruiters in intelligence-based operations. It resulted in great success. Today there is no poster boy of terrorism present in Valley. All are killed. We no longer hear fiery appeals to join terror Tanzim’s from mosques on Fridays, a trend which was common till a few years back. The erstwhile breed of terrorists who were trained in Pakistan and participated in the Afghan war has been almost wiped off, Supply chain of different terror modules is cut off and the common public is having the courage to say no to terror.
Certainly, military operations achieved great success in the last three years. They not only broke the backbone of terrorists but also created a psychological fear in their mind. We will discuss the psychological effect on terrorists in the next part of the series.
Amit Bansal is a Defence Strategist with keen interests in International Relations and Internal Security. He is also an author, blogger and poet.
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of India.com. The writer is solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.)