What India faces in the Kashmir valley today is a people’s revolt. Indeed, days after the February 14 attack, Indian security forces were pelted with stones by local civilians during an active raid against militants. This is a regular occurrence these days in the valley: Kashmiri civilians are interfering with active operations by Indian security forces. That they feel they have little to lose in doing so too means that India has lost.
Reducing the issue to counterterrorism ignores the underlying drivers of violence in Kashmir and puts Pakistan in an untenable situation in which it may be responsible for major attacks in Indian-occupied Kashmir even if there are no direct linkages to actors in Pakistan.
In the immediate term, the United States and other world powers should focus on mitigating the crisis between India and Pakistan. But they must then move toward crisis prevention. And that would require a comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan, including on the future of Kashmir.
Arif Rafiq (@arifcrafiq) is a non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC and president of Vizier Consulting, LLC, a political risk advisory company focused on the Middle East and South Asia. Image: Reuters