Indian political leaders appear deficit in their grasp of national security and internal security issues and every now and then suffer from "foot in the mouth disease" when they indulge in politicizing security issues. Amongst Indian Chief Ministers, the Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister distinguishes himself more than any other Chief Minister.
Curiously he indulges in politicizing internal security issues in the Pakistan proxy war affected Kashmir Valley region every time he is cornered by his political opponents. A few days back he publicly declared that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act would be withdrawn from selected districts of Kashmir. As head of a coalition of Congress Party-National Conference government in Srinagar, are we to believe that his public assertion on a sensitive national security issue had the sanction of the Congress President, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister?
The Indian Army charged with both defense of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions against both Pakistan and Chinese aggression and at the same time charged with internal security management against Pakistan’ s proxy war with the Kashmir Valley as the prime target, has constantly strongly opposed the repeal of the AFSPA Act.
The Indian Army’s stiff opposition to this Act arises from a simple yet militarily logical consideration. That is by repealing AFSPA Act from selected areas, in effect would create safe havens within the Kashmir Valley to which Pakistani Islamic Jihadi terrorists and their Kashmiri accomplices can seek refuge after attacks; particularly Indian Army targets as ‘hot pursuit’ in Indian territory may not be possible in districts from which AFSPA Act stands repealed.
The Indian Army as it is has to overcome internal security challenges with one hand tied politically. The assertion by the J&K Chief Minister so confidently made presumably by some support in New Delhi would tie both hands of the Indian Army politically in battling the Pakistani proxy war in this sensitive border state.
The J&K Chief Minister is oblivious to the fact that his tenure as Chief Minister has become politically untenable not due to the AFSPA Act but largely due to his own misgovernance and lack of firm grip on administration of the State.
Presumably he has been led to believe that he has the tacit support of the Union Home Minister who also on past occasions had asserted similar views.
It is high time that the Congress Government and in states where it is in coalition with regional parties, learn to speak in one voice on sensitive national security issues. The Congress President and the Prime Minister need to issue firm instructions on this score.
Not doing so would encourage the politicization of national security and internal security issues affecting the morale of the Indian security forces. It is they who day and night have to battle internal security challenges while political leaders residing in their fortified luxurious residences are oblivious to the stark ground realities.
The Indian political leaders must realize that the Indian State is currently besieged both externally and internally and it is imperative that they learn to subordinate their political compulsions and political expediencies to India’s national security issues.