Winning: The Battle For The Pir Panjal Passes


July 7, 2011: Over the last six years, India has managed to sharply reduce the number of Islamic terrorists getting into non-Moslem parts of Kashmir (actually "Jammu-Kashmir") from Pakistan. This was done by using more technology, more troops and new ideas to largely shut down terrorist infiltration routes over the Himalayas and into India. This meant blocking the large Nikam pass in the Pir Panjal mountain range.

Let's put this into perspective. In the last eleven years, there have been 1,749 terrorism related incidents in that area, most of them before 2005. Some 88 percent of the incidents occurred between 2000-2005. After that, the annual number of incidents declined. In 2005 there were 163, but that went down to 73 in 2006 and so on until this year, where there have been three clashes through the end of June. Meaning that there will most likely be less than ten for the entire year.

Pakistan, as part of peace talks with India, had agreed to put the Kashmir issue (which is political dynamite inside Pakistan) aside while many other issues are resolved. But the Islamic terrorists inside Pakistan will not relent. These Islamic terrorist groups, which Pakistan allowed, and initially encouraged to be formed for the "war" on Indian Kashmir, have refused to abide by any truce, or be part of any peace deal with India. This has led to increasing violence in northern Pakistan (especially in the Pakistani half of Kashmir.)

Two years ago, Pakistan tried to reduce the number of Islamic terrorists sneaking into Indian Kashmir, but were only able to slow it down for one year. Last year, the infiltration attempts went up. The problem is that the Islamic radicals have gone to war with the Pakistani government. Most of the fighting, that is reported in the West, is what is going on near the Afghan border. But there's a smaller, and nastier, battle going on at the Indian border as well. Ceasefire violations on the "Line of Control" (border between Indian and Pakistani Kashmir) went from three in 2006 (the start of the peace negotiations between the two countries), to 21 in 2007 and 147 last year. On the Pakistani side of the border, there are more battles between Islamic terrorist groups and Pakistani security forces. Despite this, the Islamic terrorists are still in business, although weakened because of having to take on Pakistani security forces.

In Kashmir itself, the Islamic terrorists have worn out their welcome with the Moslem majority. The terrorism not only killed a lot of Moslems (both by accident, and on purpose if someone was suspected of passing information to the Indian police), but destroyed the once-prosperous local economy. The terrorists were also intent on killing or expelling all non-Moslems. This was difficult, partly because there were a number of Hindu shrines in the area, and the majority of Indians were not going to give these up to majority Moslem Pakistan. This is why the Moslem majority in Kashmir is not going to become an independent state either. Over a decade of terrorism has destroyed the needed trust for that. But for the moment, the Moslem population is increasingly hostile to the Islamic terrorists, which means more of these radicals are getting informed on, and ending up dead or captured.

Thus, at a time when Islamic terrorists casualties are at their highest in Kashmir, the ability to sneak reinforcements in from Pakistan is at its lowest. While there was a record number of attempts (36) to sneak across the border last year, most of them failed. With the Nikam pass largely shut down, the terrorists have increased their use of the few other passes (all of them over 3,000 meters altitude), with the same lack of success. As opposed to six years ago, the Indian border troops now have heat sensors (in binoculars and rifle scopes), unattended sensors and better training to operate in the upland forests and hills of the Pir Panjal range. There are also more troops watching the infiltration routes. The Islamic radicals have not been able to counter these Indian moves. Thus India has a win, at least until, and if, the Islamic radicals come up with a solution to their problem.




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