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Indian Army Doctrine – Low Violence, High Base Scenario in Kashmir?

Published Apr 25, 2020
Updated Apr 25, 2020

Indian Army Doctrine on counter insurgency has been in place for some time now. Doctrines seem to be the flavour of the day. After the Joint Doctrine for Operations released by the Chiefs of Staff Committee in April, the Ministry of Home Affairs has released a Counter Left Wing Extremism Doctrine on 8 May. Home Minister Rajnath Singh called it Samadhan (Satisfaction) doctrine (or strategy).

Doctrines mostly outline general principles, so what would these suggest a solution to the present crisis in Kashmir.

Indian Army Doctrine for Sub Conventional Operations (SCO) December 2016 has outlined various scenarios faced in countering militancy which link the level of violence and the degree of popular support which have an impact on the security.

Five possible scenarios have been outlined in the SCO Doctrine – Low Violence, Low Base, Low Violence Large Base, Mid Violence Mid Base, High Violence, Large Base and High Violence, Low Base. This links the level of violence with the public support to the militants and grades each on low, medium and high.

Jammu and Kashmir over a period has passed through each of these scenarios from the high base – high violence to a low base and low violence.

Terrorist Violence in J & K – Data and Analysis

 The present scenario has seen low violence, despite the rampant brutality unleashed by the terrorists but the unrest denotes a large base and thus could be rightly categorised as Low Violence- Large Base.

The factor of popular support to the militancy in Kashmir at present could be debated. Many categorise this as coercive or Pakistan sponsored support that may fade away in due course, others find that the same very extensive particularly in South Kashmir.

The popularity of the cause of the terrorists is also debated with many disputing that separatists have an actual hold over the people. Money disbursed is being touted as the main reason for issues such as stone pelting, repeated bandhs and strikes.

From a conflict management perspective, the worst case scenario may provide answers on what should be done now.

Clearly, the terrorists particularly in South Kashmir have been able to establish a viable hold over the population and have made operations by security forces difficult.

The classic case of a Low Violence Large Base scenario outlined by the Indian Army has apparently unfolded in Kashmir.

This scene is said to be the “beginning of violent activities,” says the Army Doctrine, it is also, “the last stage when the movement can be contained through multi-pronged initiatives before a full blown violent insurgency takes root”. 

The doctrine recommends that such threats should be tackled urgently for which the Doctrine recommendations need to be noted – “multi-pronged initiatives.”

Also Read Understanding the Information War in Kashmir

These include –  security, development, engagement with the people and the leadership.

Where are the gaps today – apparently engagement with the people and the leadership is lacking?

While doctrines cannot be dogmas, the inferences thereof cannot be ignored.

Engagement and talks need not be with the separatists as the Government has reservations over the same due to their non-acceptance of the Constitution.

But engagement with the people and grassroots leaders is necessary, and this can be undertaken by all from local military and central police units to political leadership. Priority for establishing communications is called for what the Army called Winning Hearts and Minds – it is never too late for that.