Handwara: India must act strongly | HT Editorial – Editorials
Even the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) fails before Pakistan’s obsession to inflict terror on India. The Handwara meeting, in which five Indian soldiers and a policeman were killed fighting against a militant cell, is a reminder that, through the pandemic, it has been as always on the Line of Control and in Kashmir. The past few months have seen a constant exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani forces along the border, a parallel infiltration of militants, and a concomitant terrorist activity in Kashmir. Rawalpindi’s recent rebranding of existing militant groups in Kashmir as “The Resistance Front” does nothing to hide the fact that what is happening is still state sponsored terrorism with the favorite Lashkar-e-Taiba Rawalpindi at the forefront of violence.
Pakistan has been increasing violence in and throughout Kashmir since the repeal of Article 370. This despite failing to persuade the international community to force India to reverse its decision and the threat of sanctions from the UN Financial Action Task Force. United Nations. It is clear to everyone that India is not going to change what was passed in Parliament without opposition, and is now recorded in the Constitution. Pakistan knows this too, but what it is trying to do is make India pay a price for effectively removing Islamabad from the Valley’s future. Pakistan should know that incidents like Handwara, tragic as they are, will do nothing to break India’s will.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi established a new path for Indo-Pakistani relations, one that focused on trade and investment, tackling common development challenges and building personal bridges. However, Pakistan is required to accept that the use of coercion to force territorial changes is no longer feasible. The Covid-19 pandemic provided a perfect opportunity for Islamabad to at least explore this new path, using the excuse of a common viral enemy to cast aside a legacy of animosity. Instead, Prime Minister Imran Khan chose to treat the pandemic as a non-event, and the army, which still determines Kashmir policy, rejected the opportunity through violence on the ground. Pakistan must accept the new reality. But a nation born in bloodshed and sustained by violence will not easily and peacefully renounce its delusions. That is why India should take these designs into account, anticipate challenges and respond accordingly. The security forces will have to be at the forefront of this battle. The prize in the end will make it all worthwhile: ending the Kashmir conflict, a more united India and forcing Pakistan to hopefully abandon terror as an instrument of state policy.