When the Narendra Modi-led government came to power in India with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in May 2014, the public hoped that a peaceful resolution would be reached over the strife-torn northern state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
A key element of the BJP’s platform had been a policy of “zero tolerance towards terrorism.” Yet, since Modi’s election, the situation in J&K — which has been the focus of a long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan, with minority Hindus fleeing Islamist violence in 1990 — has worsened. No Hindu has returned to the Kashmir Valley during Modi’s premiership, and the number of Indian civilians and security personnel killed in attacks by Pakistani militants has increased. In fact, during the four-year period between 2014 and 2018, 75 more Indian soldiers and other security personnel were killed in J&K than during the previous five years (219, compared to 144).
Disturbingly, New Delhi’s response to these assaults seems to be appeasement — reaching out to separatist leaders in India and to the Taliban in Pakistan.
Emerging from a meeting in September 2018 of the Central Zonal Council in Lucknow, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters: