BSF asked to cultivate Kashmir’s “silent minority,” ace “hybrid warfare”

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Lal Chowk, Srinagar

A “silent minority” in the Kashmir region favours complete integration with India and back Centre’s decision to change Article 370, the top commanders of the Border Security Force have been told during a specially-arranged closed door meeting addressed by a former Indian Army general.

“The BSF should identify and empower these people,” a former three-star general of the Indian Army advised BSF’s top brass during his presentation.

“There are a number of Kashmiris who see the benefits of being part of India. Unless, those on the ground encourage them, they will never speak up.”

Getting the people of Jammu and Kashmir on our side is the “centre of gravity” of the whole conflict, the defence veteran said during his remarks, delivered at a New Delhi based think tank.

He said that the role of the BSF was crucial in combatting the adversary propaganda of seperatists and Pakistan.

BSF’s role was important in ensuring that the success of the government’s short-term goals to stabilise the security situation and negate adversary propaganda, said the general, who has served extensively in Kashmir in senior military positions.

“The BSF must transform itself into a completely hybrid war force. It will not only be involved in counter-insurgency and anti-infiltration operations, but also in cyber and communication warfare.

“The war is against every department of India and not just at the border anymore. There is a need for an whole-out approach,” said the former general.

“Communications is the most important component of Pakistan’s “LoC proxy campaign,” he said, listing out human resources (terrorists, ideologues and local media among others), finances and ideology as other enablers of ISI’s strategy.

The former general noted that several media outlets in Kashmir had been serving Pakistan’s interests in openly advocating secession from India.

He justified the communications blackout imposed on the state on August 5 in the lead-up to decision to revoke most of Article 370 as “a well thought-out decision” of the government.

The urban, tech-savvy parts of Kashmir, particularly Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag, were found to be more restive during previous occasions of unrest in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

On the other hand, the chain of protests sparked by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani spread to rural areas across northern and southern Kashmir, he noted. At the time, the curfew to check the violent protests had lasted 53 days, one the longest since 2010. The latest blackout is in its 36th day today.

The military veteran also lauded the decision to crack down on the Jammu and Kashmir Bank earlier this year as being important to choke fund flows to seperatists as well as terror networks in the region.

Restrictions on locals’ movement during daytime have been now been relaxed in 92 out of 105 police station areas lying in Kashmir, principal secretary of J&K Rohit Kansal said on Monday.

While 72 of the total 95 telephone exchanges in Jammu and Kashmir have re-opened, mobile and internet services remain suspended in the Valley.

Getting the people of Jammu and Kashmir on our side is the “centre of gravity” of the whole conflict, the defence veteran said during his remarks, delivered at a New Delhi based think tank.

He said that the role of the BSF was crucial in combatting the adversary propaganda of seperatists and Pakistan.

BSF’s role was important in ensuring that the success of the government’s short-term goals to stabilise the security situation and negate adversary propaganda, he said during his briefing.

“The BSF must transform itself into a completely hybrid war force. It will not only be involved in counter-insurgency and anti-infiltration operations, but also in cyber and communication warfare.

“The war is against every department of India and not just at the border anymore. There is a need for an whole-out approach.”

“Communications is the most important component of Pakistan’s “LoC proxy campaign,” he said, listing out human resources (terrorists, ideologues and local media among others), finances and ideology as other enablers of ISI’s strategy.

The former general noted that several media outlets in Kashmir had been serving Pakistan’s interests in openly advocating secession from India.

He justified the communications blackout imposed on the state on August 5 in the lead-up to decision to revoke most of Article 370 as “a well thought-out decision” of the government.

The urban, tech-savvy parts of Kashmir, particularly Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag, were found to be more restive during previous occasions of unrest in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

On the other hand, the chain of protests sparked by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani spread to rural areas across northern and southern Kashmir, he noted. At the time, the curfew to check the violent protests had lasted 53 days, one the longest since 2010. The latest blackout is in its 36th day today.

The military veteran also lauded the decision to crack down on the Jammu and Kashmir Bank earlier this year as being important to choke fund flows to seperatists as well as terror networks in the region.

Restrictions on locals’ movement during daytime have been now been relaxed in 92 out of 105 police station areas lying in Kashmir, principal secretary of J&K Rohit Kansal said on Monday.

While 72 of the total 95 telephone exchanges in Jammu and Kashmir have re-opened, mobile and internet services remain suspended in the Valley.

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