Though Pakistan projects the J &K insurgency as homegrown but the fact is that it cannot be sustained without the physical involvement of Pakistan. Local involvement is only limited to South Kashmir and to increase the footprints in order to make it look like home grown and pan J & K, militants from Pakistan are most needed. Insurgency in J & K cannot be sustained only through local action and support. This is clearly visible fromrecent fedayeen attack by Pakistani JeM terrorists on Sanjuan Army Camp Jammu and daring rescue of Pakistani terrorist Naveed Jat (Abu Hanzula) from SMHS Hospital Srinagar by cadres of Hizb. Presence of a Pakistani terrorist is considered a must by local Tanzeems to keep the pot boiling and motivate the cadres. In a recent video release, Hizb Commander Riaz Naikoo has tried to justify his action of killing policemen while rescuing Naveed Hanjula, by openly declaring that Pakistani mujahedeen are dearer to him than Kashmiris and he will go to any length to protect his Pakistani brethren even at the cost of killing local Kashmiris. This clearly proves that local structure of the militancy is week and Kashmiri militancy cannot be sustained without the physical involvement of Pakistan.

Another worrying factor for local militants is the quick elimination of their young cadres and this increases their reliance on Pakistani terrorists. There is an inverse correlation between the declining age profile of the militants and the increased elimination of militants. The increase in terrorist related violence from 2015 to 2017 has been characterised with the increase in elimination of young militants. Earlier porous borders were used by the militants to sneak in and out. The young militants would exfiltrate to Pakistan receive training there and get back with impunity. Thus, earlier years of insurgency were sustained by these Pakistan Trained Militants or the PTM a popular euphemism used by the security forces. Now with fencing of the LOC and effective vigilance has definitely put a stop to exfiltration. The recruits now trained in a very rudimentary manner called Locally Trained Militants or the LTM, are not even allowed to fire during their short training stint as a result of which they lack good fighting skills. As soon as they join up, they are given a AK-47 rifle by their handlers which is one of the easiest rifles to operate and then ordered to organise attacks. These young militants with hardly any training and experience are likely to be killed more as compared to well trained, motivated and sometime battle-hardened militants of Afghanistan sent by Pakistan.

            If we analyse the trend then it will be very apparent that the age profile of Kashmiri militants, which ranged 20-21 years till a few years back, has come down to about 17-20 years now. Looking at the recruitment figures, in 2015, the number of recruitments made stood at 66, which grew to 88 in 2016 and further spiked to 128 in 2017. Of the total 128 recruitments, about 30 per cent are 15-19 years old, 50 per cent are in the 20-25 years age group and 10 per cent in the 25-30 years category. The rest 10 per cent belong to the more than 30 years group. Another interesting feature is that an overwhelming majority are Class 10 and 12 drop-outs. In the past, the shelf life of a militant in Kashmir was usually between 6-8 months which has further gone down now. Ill trained and ill motivated militants are easier to eliminate.

            At present, about 300 militants are operating in the state, of which about 180 are locals and 120 are of foreign origin. With the quick elimination of new entrants, the insurgency in J & K is not likely to prolong. Pakistan knows it very well that in absence of local action, only course left to sustain the insurgency in J & K is to keep sending well trained militants from Pakistan and this trend is clearly visible. Pakistan stands exposed once again in the back drop of these two-terror related state sponsored incidents. 

12 Feb 2018/Monday                                                                         sajiakhan.sk2016@gmail.com