Terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir is at levels not seen in a decade: 614 attacks in 2018 with 38 civilians and 257 Islamic extremists killed.

New Delhi, January 19:

Ceasefire violations along India’s border with Pakistan and the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir more than doubled in 2018 from the previous year to reach the highest this decade, according to data compiled by India’s security and military establishment.

The ceasefire violations, with increased Pakistan sniper activity, touched 2,140 last year, increasing from 971 in 2017 and 449 in 2016, according to the data seen by HT. This led to a decadal high of 30 civilian casualties and 29 casualties among security personnel manning the border with Pakistan and the LoC.

Every Tuesday, for the past three Tuesdays, India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) has red-flagged a massive escalation of ceasefire violations along the international border and the LoC to his Pakistani counterpart. This isn’t new, but indicates no change in Islamabad’s approach under a new government, with Indian security officials saying all monitored parameters have touched all-time highs. The Pakistan DGMO, on his part, and as in the past, has flatly denied all charges.

Analysts say the Imran Khan government may have been emboldened by the lowering of pressure from the US as the latter needs Islamabad when it exits from Afghanistan. That the US needs Pakistan to start the peace and reconciliation dialogue between the Taliban and the Ashraf Ghani government was evident during the meetings between US Special Envoy on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad,and Indian interlocutors including NSA Ajit Doval on January 10-11. According to officials familiar with the matter, the Indian side made it clear to the US interlocutor that its humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan was linked to Kabul containing terrorism and that New Delhi would explore other options if the peace dialogue is not inclusive and not pro-Afghan. Although Pakistan submitted its risk assessment report on action taken against terrorist groups to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at a meeting in Sydney on January 7-8 , Indian security officials say it continues to provide a base for terrorists targeting India.

Terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir is at levels not seen in a decade: 614 attacks in 2018 with 38 civilians and 257 Islamic extremists killed. FATF, on its part, found the Pakistan assessment unsatisfactory and asked the Imran Khan government to make required changes in its anti-terrorism strategy before it grants any relief to Islamabad. Adverse action by FATF could have consequences for Pakistan’s already troubled economy with a possible downgrade of Islamabad’s debt ratings and restrictions being placed on how much it can borrow from global monetary institutions.

Chances of Pakistan being downgraded to a black list and be clubbed with Iran and North Korea are, however, remote.

“ Structurally, Pakistan cannot change its policy towards India. The armed forces, the religious organisations , the political forces and the ideology that created the country will not allow this,” former Indian foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal said . “Imran Khan is a product of these forces.

In the current difficult circumstances, Imran Khan is making soft noises, but these are tactical in nature. China also will not allow a real improvement of relations with India as Pakistan will begin to balance India and China.”

Courtesy: Hindustan Times