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Kashmir had been bereft of any serious development for many decades as a result of exclusive politics and policies. Now, with the abrogation of Article 370, it is imperative for the region’s polity to believe in the strength of the Indian nation, be aware of the disorder rampant across the border, and work towards the empowerment and evolution of the Valley.



The recently proclaimed second Gupkar Declaration by an exclusive ‘Kashmir Valley’ composition of politicians mirrors the crowd participation in the recently concluded IPL, which was played to empty stadiums but delivered and telecast to audiences with pre-recorded cheering. By and large, the declaration’s lame attempt to synecdoche Kashmir separatism appears to be a dying echo in the backdrop of the vanishing Hurriyat legacy.

A glance at the Valley’s political smorgasbord, introspective of the changing times, it is indeed a comedown from the erstwhile “Hurriyat” that vied for secession from the Indian State or for independence, depending on which side of the Pir Panjal controlled the sway. For the Kashmir watchers, however, the declaration seems to be a step for moderation, another rung lower in the opposition to the ultimate and complete amalgamation. As the hues of the terrestrial surface evolve with each changing season, in geopolitical terms, a generation begins to see a change in the militant stance in the valley leadership. Historically speaking, in the 14th century, where it all began, even Shah Mir Alias Sultan Sham ud Din patiently took twenty years to morph a generation and turn the people away from Maharaj Suhadeva and Kota Rani’s Lohara dynasty’s rule. The progress orientation of a state is likewise bound to take time.  But the Middle Ages were dark all across the globe, and while the Shah Mir dynasty was wiping out the pristine heritage of Kashmiri society and religion, halfway across the globe, the ‘Black Death’ was wiping out a third of the European population.

Kashmir has Indian heritage stamped all over it; the pristine heritage is still there to see. As a relic of the past, across the Razdan pass, lies the Sharada Peeth on the banks of the Neelam valley, known in the 6th century as ‘Kashmira Vaasini Sharada Devi’. It is well known that, cradled in the ranges, the avowed shrine of the Sharada Peeth is now in ruins. The connection to mainland India lies deep enough, renewed yet again by the Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century CE from atop the hill overlooking the Dal Lake. 

A boy carries an old man on his back to cast vote in the first phase of the DDC elections, in Poonch on Saturday. (ANI Photo)

Back in August 1947, when the two nations were born, little was prophesied of the distant future. The accession of Kashmir and the battles valiantly fought, retaining the Valley and Ladakh. Kashmir was a chessboard of military precision; Colonel Manekshaw, then in the Military Operations Branch at Army HQ, clearly remembered the crisp orders that were delivered by Sardar Patel on the mobilization of troops, and rest is history. Within a day from when the Instrument of Accession was delivered at New Delhi and presented to the Governor General, Lord Mountbatten, the Indian Army landed at Srinagar with two Indian Army Battalions, namely, 1 Sikh and 4 Kumaon.  The Raiders were driven back from the gates of Shalateng near Srinagar all the way back to Uri.

Down till December 1948, a year and a half of battles and skirmishes followed, with gains in the Valley and to the south of Haji Pir pass, and less success in Gilgit and Baltistan. On Pt Nehru’s insistence, Sheikh Abdullah was taken on board for the complete accession of Kashmir. Time was running out and ‘The Sheikh’ was not interested in the Baltis. Jinnah’s dislike for the Sheikh paid off as the National Conference remained in favour of the accession, by and large. Subsequently, Indian Union Legislations were passed to govern Kashmir. A Sadr E Riyasat and a Wazir E Alam (PM) were appointed.

The Sheikh, after being self-appointed as the Prime Minister, tried to abolish the post of the Sadr E Riyasat,  but Dr Karan Singh and mainland India objected. The Sheikh was imprisoned in 1953.  Article 370 was accordingly introduced in 1954 as a constitutional mechanism. In and out of power for a decade, Sheikh Abdullah realized the futility of an anti-India stance with the defeat of Pakistan in the 1971 war. With many changes, finally a regular governance returned to the Valley with the Indira-Sheikh Accord in 1974, where he returned as the chief minister of J&K.

Till the late 1980s, the Valley settled down to a peaceful existence. It was the time when, for the Kashmiri residents of Srinagar, it was a matter of pride to have the honoured Army or IAS officer as a respected tenant in their bungalows.


The Pakistani Army has a line of infamous dictators who are known for their loss of face in confrontations with the Indian Army. Gen Zia Ul Haq, a Machiavellian dictator who lost the Siachen Glacier battlefield to India, was a man who went about not only radicalizing the Pakistan Army but also the youth of Kashmir, routing weapons into renegade hands in the Valley, much to the chagrin of India. For about a decade after General Zia eliminated the Pakistan PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977, he put into effect the operation TOPAC, which slowly changed the Kashmiri youth. In 1989, after the kidnapping and murder of two IAF officers in broad daylight in Srinagar, with slanderous slogans suddenly appearing across the valley, JKLF came to the fore. Terrorism ran its course for three decades after that.

After those three decades of turmoil in Kashmir, the rise and fall of various Tanzeems, the machinations of the Hurriyat, it is a long haul now back to a clear amalgamation of the Valley with mainland India. 


On 5 August 2019, in a constitutional move, Article 370 was abrogated and 35A was abolished. The most controversial part was that Article 35A prevented non-permanent residents of J&K from permanently settling in the state. Also, non-permanent residents of J & K could not buy immovable property, acquire land, apply for government jobs or any kind of scholarships and aids as well as other public welfare projects, which were exclusively reserved for Kashmiri people. Now, Indians from other states can own property in the Valley as in other parts of the country.

Secondly, the people of J&K will lose their permanent resident certificate and become a general citizen of India. However, the Permanent Residents Law had many restrictions, including the barring of a Kashmiri woman from having any rights to property if she married a person from outside the state. This restriction was extended to her children to have any succession rights over the property. With such restrictions gone, women in the Valley will have greater empowerment.

Thirdly, the state of Jammu and Kashmir will no longer have a separate constitution but shall abide by the Indian Constitution, much like any other state. All Indian laws will be automatically applied to Kashmiris and people from outside the state living in the region.

A separate Union Territory for Jammu and Kashmir is created that will function directly under the central government. Thus, the central government can have better control over the internal security situation in the region that was subject to cross-border terrorism. The Ladakh region, now a full-fledged UT, is on its way to clear the air and focus on local administration without diktats from Srinagar.

There will also be a change in legislative powers. In the future, the J & K Assembly cannot clear any bill on its own as it will require the central government’s nod to do so. In the absence of an elected government in the state, the state governor shall exercise the powers of the elected government. This clause was introduced in February 2019 and the same was exercised to remove Article 370 in August 2019.

Moreover, an agricultural orientation will be encouraged in the region. In 2006, Ganderbal, a small town of North Kashmir, became a district headquarters, as did three other small towns. There was a flurry of construction and urbanization was seen progressing at a fast clip, eroding farmlands. In the past six years alone, the farmlands lost to other purposes stood at 20%.  According to the Jammu and Kashmir Economic Survey report for 2014-15, the estimated contribution of agriculture to the State Gross Domestic Product has fallen from 28% in 2004-05 to 17%. While 70% of the population depends directly or indirectly on agriculture, the proportion of the labour force engaged in agriculture has declined from 85% in 1961, to 28% today, as per a Kashmir Observer article. Farmers have not found other work in J&K, due to the absence of a viable industrial and service sector.

Related to this, the shortfall in food grains, which was 32% in 1950-51, is now at 82% in the region. Almost all the food grains are brought in from Punjab and beyond. Cross-border trade is not only limited but economically unviable as the cost of food grains is much higher in Pakistan-occupied areas across the border where the PDS system is woefully short of its objectives. Self-sufficiency is not a virtue with the state of Kashmir, and amalgamation seemed to be the logical direction in such a scenario, as political responsibility has to rest on provision and productivity. The Kashmiri leaders know this well, and so does the public.


There are 10 districts in the Kashmir division with a population of nearly 70 lakhs, while the Jammu division has 54 lakhs in population. Together, the total is nearly equal to that of Uttarakhand. In a country of nearly 1.4 billion people, the population percentage share of the Valley is considerably small but it does have a distinct nature.

They also have been bereft of development or the awareness of economic ability, especially for improving the living conditions of its citizens.  The people of Kashmir are in an estrangement of sorts. But with the amalgamation with Indian side, when the polity is introduced to better amenities, the outcomes will evolve differently.

While the highly subsidized treatment of the state is at the cost of other states, the Kashmiris would also know the conditions across the Line of Control where the public distribution system is woefully short of any decent standards of living. The PDS in the entire nation of Pakistan is in total disarray.

The economic influence of the amalgamation will also be significant. Most Indian states have their signature products with an international reputation, for instance, spices from Kerala, basmati from Punjab, jute from Bengal, and many more.  The situation in Kashmir thus far has not allowed the commercial production of the cash-rich products of saffron and cashmere over the decades due to a lack of capital and the connected issues of acquiring larger equipment for farming.

Surprisingly, Iran and China figure as leading producers of saffron products too. Hopefully, the change of conditions in Kashmir would see Kashmiris stretch out on the infusion of capital from the mainland. Large saffron fields can change the economic profile of the place and Kashmiri farmers can take the full support of the national resources and financial institutions which are open to all.

Finally, there will be changes with the exercising of Indian military power too. The Indian forces wrested Kashmir from the clutches of the tribals in 1947-48. They then took back the Valley and Kargil by the end of 1948. The forces also denied any success to the Pakistani Army in 1965 by making a graveyard of Patton Tanks, and in 1971 as well, by creating an independent Bangladesh out of East Pakistan. The Pakistani Army could not achieve any military gains in Kashmir that they could hold on to. In 1984, they secured the Siachen Glacier and Saltoro ridge too, thus denying hold of the Nubra Valley. Yet again, in 1999, the Pakistan Army was thrown back from encroaching upon Kargil.

Throughout the years since 1990, the Indian forces have adopted a counter-terrorist posture. And over a period of time, right from the onset of the instigated unrest by Pakistan in the valley, our forces inside Kashmir have exercised restraint in the use of force against militancy.

Unlike this, the Pakistani government, in its OP Al Mizan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has bombed its Pakhtoon population using the PAF. That the Pakistan government took hasty decisions is clear, keeping in mind that the Pakistan forces have 20% Pashtoon troops, and it is a slow disaster unfolding now with the construction of a two-tier fence along the 2430 km long Durand Line with Afghanistan.

Such is the intransigence of the confused state, that the top leaders of Pakistan now even go to the desperate extent of blaming Indian agencies of operating terror outfits from Afghanistan and causing terror attacks inside Pakistan.


Anne Woods Patterson, an American diplomat and career Foreign Service Officer, served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2013 to 2017. The esteemed diplomat served as the United States Ambassador to Egypt until 2013 and as the United States Ambassador to Pakistan from July 2007 to October 2010.  On the controversial John Fredericks Show on August 9, 2019, while she did comment on Modi’s brilliant chess move in boxing in Trump on Kashmir, she stressed upon the term ‘annexation’. One can attribute this largely to her affinity to Pakistan as diplomats are likely to have a sympathetic attitude towards the country they served in abroad.

This latent issue has now been set alight before the world comity by the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution. Constitutionally speaking, though not in the prime segment, being in the XIIIth schedule, Article 370 was to be a temporary measure. However, the article held back the amalgamation and nationalization of Jammu and Kashmir – a stage curtain for the nation of Pakistan to avoid state action.

In granting special status to J&K, Article 370 had, for the past seventy years, lent a get-away for a financially disabled nation like Pakistan, which fed the Kashmir rhetoric to all and sundry. The slogan was catchy – ‘Kashmir Banega Pakistan’ – and the unwitting masses lapped it up while it served the purpose of the ruling quasi-civilian government, its super rich elite and, last but not the least, the largest conglomerate of the Pakistani nation, the ubiquitous Pakistan Army.

A sense of disillusionment is rife in Pakistan. For the Pakistani leadership, the writing is on the wall. Going by what Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of the Pakistan People’s Party observed recently in his article post the abrogation of Article 370, Pakistan (and Imran Khan) should be worried about defending Muzaffarabad rather than taking Srinagar.


Needless to say, the state of Kashmir had been bereft of any serious development for many decades largely as a result of exclusive politics and policies. The regional parties avoiding mainstream politics had been acting to the economic detriment of the state. They were kept out by vested interests which discouraged the spread of awareness about the Indian industrial potential in the Valley. The nation has come a long way in introducing the railways in the Valley and that has been spontaneously targeted by the separatists. The infusion of mainland Indian labour, capital and infrastructure and being subject to the Indian Penal Code, rather than an archaic system, will see a different tomorrow and be a harbinger of progress and prosperity in times to come.  Till then, it is imperative for the political will of the mainstream to convince the polity to believe in the strength of this nation and be aware of the economic and social precipice of the adversary across the Shamshabari.

The author is a veteran of the armed forces having served four tenures in Jammu and Kashmir including the 1999 Kargil conflict. He has also served in Ladakh and in the Siachen Glacier. He is now pursuing research in defence and strategic studies.

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The Army is fully prepared to meet any challenge like the use of drones and social media by adversaries to safeguard the country, said Commandant of Chennai-based Officers Training Academy (OTA) Lieutenant General M K Das. Lt Gen Das, who is also the colonel of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment, said the situation in J&K is getting better with the Army and other security agencies working together to stamp out terrorism. Speaking to media on the sidelines of the maiden attestation parade of 460 new recruits of the 126th batch after a successful 40-week training period at Dansal here, he said the Indian Army is aware of the challenges and prepared to give a befitting response to the enemies of the nation.

Talking about the need to introduce special training courses for soldiers in the aftermath of the developments in Afghanistan, he said, “Our training is very contemporary as it caters for all the contingencies and unforeseen situations. My young soldiers, who have taken the oath to defend the constitution and the country, will live up to all the challenges. One of the unique things of this regiment (JAKLI) is all our troops hail from J&K and Ladakh. They have ingrained quality to be security conscious much more than others.” Lt Gen Das said, “All the situations unfolding in the country or in our neighbourhood, the JAKLI regiment will continue to excel and be the lead agency in the fight against terrorism.” Asked about the challenges posed by the use of drones to hit targets and deliver weapons and narcotics from across the LoC and International Border, he said a capsule course on anti-drone measures has been introduced. “On Army Day on 15 January, our chief took the threat seriously and our soldiers are being prepared to deal with the challenge in a better way.” During recruitment training, Lt Gen Das said that besides the arms handing and exercises, thrust is also given on science and technology, cybersecurity and other new challenges. He said the misuse of social media by “anti-national” elements is a reality and the new recruits are being trained in cybersecurity during their basic and orientation courses.

On attempts by Pakistan to mislead the youth of J&K, Lt Gen Das said, “The youth of J&K is showing keenness to be a part of the regiment which is a message to those who think they can mislead our youth. Joining the regiment is the best way to serve the nation, the youth live like a family and there is complete communal harmony.” He said the regiment is increasing the number of local youth from Ladakh and would also go for recruitment in J&K to provide an opportunity to the local youth to become part of this regiment. Asked about his message to the misguided youth, he said, “J&K is the crown of India but if I focus as a soldier, I feel they (misguided youth) have not understood their country… the situation has not gone out of hand and the Army has kept its window open to allow them to surrender and join the national mainstream.”

He added, “We have a unit of 162 Infantry Territorial Army who are former militants but have become upright soldiers.” Lt Gen Das said the Army and other security agencies are working in close coordination and the situation in J&K is getting better and the “day is not far when this region will make our country proud.”

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The Southern Naval Command observed International Coastal Clean-up Day on Saturday with a focus on mangrove plantation and clearance of plastic/non-biodegradable waste along with waterfront areas in and around Kochi, said a press release from the Ministry of Defence.

Pursuant to the global campaign of keeping coastlines clean, more than 600 Naval personnel and the families of Southern Naval Command undertook clearance of plastic and non-biodegradable waste at different locations spread across the city, coastal areas such as Fort Kochi beach, Thevara waterfront, Willingdon Island, Cherai beach, Bolgatty and around 2 km stretch of the Venduruthy channel while restoring around 1 lakh sqm of mangroves to the pristine condition. In addition, 80 mangrove saplings were also planted along the Venduruthy channel. Similar coastal cleanup drives and lectures/webinars/competitions emphasising protection of the coastal and marine environment were undertaken with the enthusiastic participation of the Naval community at other outstation Naval units located at Lonavala, Jamnagar, Chilka, Coimbatore, Goa, Ezhimala and Mumbai.

Being the Training Command of the Indian Navy, the Southern Naval Command has always been at the vanguard in promoting environmental conservation activities both at the Command Headquarters, Kochi as well as at Naval stations spread across the country.

Mandated to oversee naval training, the Southern Naval Command has conceptualised and implemented a variety of green initiatives. Keeping environmental preservation as one of the Key Result Areas, the Command has constantly endeavoured to motivate young officer and sailor trainees of the Indian Navy to imbibe the habit of protecting mother nature as part of their grooming efforts in preparing them to become responsible future Naval leaders and dependable citizens of India.

Particular attention has also been given to create more awareness among the families and more importantly the children.

During the last three years, the Command has adopted a multi-dimensional approach towards conservation of the environment and implementation of energy conservation methods.

To highlight a few, the personnel of the Command were actively involved in the rejuvenation of 4.5-km-long Venduruthy Channel near Kochi Naval base, creating awareness in and around Naval establishments.

Efforts were undertaken to enhance green cover by conducting mass plantation drives which included planting more than 75,000 trees, using the fast-growing Miyawaki forestation method. In addition, regular coastal clean-up drives, mangrove plantation drives, in-house handling and recycling of bio and non-biodegradable waste, adopting efficient energy and water-saving methods etc were also undertaken. The Command has also earnestly endeavoured to continue all the efforts for protecting and conserving the environment and natural resources. Towards achieving the same, the Command has implemented a Green Initiative and Environment Conservation Roadmap with a prime focus on Carbon footprint reduction.

With the personal involvement of Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command is committed to creating a clean, green and healthy environment in line with the visionary environment conservation policies of the Govt of India. On the occasion, Adv M Anilkumar, Mayor, Kochi Municipal Corporation and staff also participated in Kochi.

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An air show will be held here on 26 September where IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga and Suryakiran Aerobatic and Display Team and paramotor flying will manoeuvre the skies over the famous Dal Lake, officials informed on Saturday.

The air show will be organised by the Air Force Station Srinagar and the Jammu and Kashmir administration as part of the ongoing celebrations commemorating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, they said. The main aim of the exercise—under the theme ‘Give Wings to Your Dream’—is to motivate the youth of the valley to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) and to promote tourism in the region, the officials said.

The event will be flagged off Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) overlooking Dal Lake.

More than 3,000 college and school students are expected to participate in the programme to witness the impressive manoeuvres of the IAF, which will motivate them to dream about a career in the force and in the aviation sector, the officials said. “The show will also develop passion among the students to give wings to their dreams. Along with the students, 700 teachers will also be present at the venue,” they added.

During the demonstration, students will also be familiarised with the new technological advancements achieved and incorporated by the IAF while flying aircraft in the sky over the world-famous Dal Lake, the officials said. Stalls will be established at SKICC where students will be familiarised with the achievements of the Air Force, employment opportunities in the IAF, recruitment rules and eligibility criteria, they added.

Srinagar-based PRO Defence Col Emron Musavi said the display will include flypast by various aircraft of the IAF. The spectators would also get to witness paramotor flying and IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga in action. ‘Ambassadors of IAF’, Suryakiran Aerobatic Display Team, will be performing in the valley after a gap of 14 years, he said. Col Musavi said the symphony orchestra of the IAF would also be performing at the event. The event would also consist of a photo exhibition depicting the history of the

IAF, he said. 

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JAIPUR : South Western Command of the Indian Army on Saturday organised an exhibition showcasing defence equipment at Chitrakoot Stadium in Jaipur to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.

Speaking to ANI, an Indian army official said, “We have displayed the defence equipment in this exhibition to make people aware of the Indian army achievements. We want to motivate the youth by showcasing these types of equipment.” “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, these events had been started to make people aware of Indian Arm Forces. So, we are also continuing the move by organising these kinds of events,” he added.

Further, he said that India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war is memorable for all the Indians, so, every citizen should be aware of this war.  

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BRO makes history, appoints woman Army officer in-charge of road construction unit



The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has appointed a woman Army officer for the first as the Officer Commanding of its 75 road construction company (RCC) in Uttarakhand, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

The three platoon commanders under Major Aaina, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K became the first women RCC. The appointments were made on August 30.

BRO on Sunday recalled the list of women officers who were assigned higher leadership roles in the organisation in the current year.

According to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry, BRO has inducted a large number of women into its workforce over the years, right from officers to the level of commercial pilot license holders. “In this regard, a General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) officer EE (Civ) Vaishali S Hiwase took over the reins of 83 Road Construction Company on April 28, employed on an important Indo-China road connecting Munisairi-Bughdiar-Milam, in an area full of adversity and challenges. The lady officer has taken control and is leading the charge with meticulous execution of her tasks,” the statement said.

“The BRO created history again on 30 August when Major Aaina of Project Shivalik took charged as Officer Commanding, 75 Road Construction Companies (RCC) at Pipalkoti in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. She is the first Indian Army Engineer Officer to command a road construction company. Not only this, all three platoon commanders under her, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K are lady officers and they have together created a first-ever women RCC. The Border Roads plans to make four such all women-led RCCs, two each in North Eastern and Western Sectors.”

As India celebrates 75 Years of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, it also celebrates the ongoing efforts of our Nation towards women empowerment. Women today have started assuming their rightful, equal place as the frontrunners in nation-building and representatives of our strong national character, the statement read.

Over the last six decades, in a graduated and steady manner, the BRO has increased the number of women employed in various roles and duties of road construction. A consolidated effort is being made to empower them by giving them authority and responsibilities to undertake work independently. These women have become symbols of Nari Shakti in their respective areas.

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In his first visit abroad after taking over as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat will be visiting Russia and the US.

Rawat took over his new office as CDS on 31 December 2019, and since then has been declining foreign invitations for focusing on the new assignment of integrating the defence forces as a combined fighting force. “There is a conference of the CDS-rank officers of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement member countries. China and Pakistan are also part of this grouping,” senior defence officials said.

The CDS conference would be focusing on addressing the regional security issues and Afghanistan is also likely to come up for discussion, they said.

The CDS would also witness the activities of the respective armed forces taking part in the SCO peace mission drills being held in Russia. Indian Army and Air Force are also taking part in the exercise there.

The visit will take place in the coming week and soon after return from Russia, Rawat would be leaving for the US for meeting his counterpart and other American military leadership at the Pentagon.

The two countries have been coming closer militarily in the last few years and have been holding multiple military exercises and hardware cooperation.

The Indian military saw a major change in senior-level structures under the Narendra Modi government as the focus is now on the theatrisation of the fighting forces and bringing in more capabilities and jointness among the three services. 

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