J&K: Failures / Lapses and the Opportunities – A talk by Dr. Sudhir S. Bloeria
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Vimarsha, VIF’s monthly series of talks on issues of national importance, was held on 23 December 2015 with Dr. Sudhir S. Bloeria, former Chief Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir and Vice Chancellor of Jammu and Kashmir, sharing his perspective on the perceived lapses / failures and the present opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir, with an august gathering which comprised of several former bureaucrats, intellectuals, policy experts, and academicians, among others.

The talk was preceded by an introductory speech made by General NC Vij, Director VIF, underscoring radicalisation as the next big challenge in Kashmir after insurgency. He said, Maulvis (experts in Islamic law) from U.P. and Bihar to a large extent are spreading Wahabi teachings in the Madrassas in Kashmir, thereby putting Kashmir’s great Sufi traditions to grave risks. Besides, the Director also briefly touched on the current security and political trends in J&K in his opening remarks.

Dr. Bloeria’s talk was divided into five parts: the genesis of the problem in Kashmir, a detailed account of the militancy years in the valley, including lessons learnt and a revival of the political processes beginning with the first state elections in 1996 after the worst phase of insurgency was over, the perceived political and administrative lapses, the current situation, and a general sense of direction to which Kashmir should be heading, given especially the current political and security situations in the state. He underscored the gains accrued as a result of four successive successful elections need to be further consolidated with a string of administrative and political measures, inter alia, an improvement in the overall physical as well as psychological connectivity with the rest of India in order to bring Kashmir back into the national mainstream – rail and road networks across the entire region, setting up atomic power projects, devolution of power at the grassroots – the formation of block and district councils, an effective and credible presence of the central agencies in J&K, sending efficient and honest mid-level officers on deputation to J&K for the sake of better governance, facilitating Kashmiri traders to set up business centers in every state of India, creating greater employment opportunities for the Kashmiri youths, and encouraging them to go for education in other parts of India.

Dr. Bloeria came up with two sets of statistics to illustrate the magnitude of problem in Kashmir. While India controls less territory in J&K as compared to Pakistan-China combine, India has suffered more causalities on account militancy in J&K than in the regular wars with Pakistan. A flounder approach by the central leadership, coupled with a general sense of apathy towards Kashmir has led to the problem in Kashmir grow manifold over the years. Worse, while Pakistan’s bellicosity vis-à-vis India has grown consistently over the years, New Delhi rarely has shown the courage to punch above its weight. The talk by Dr. Bloeria drew spirited responses from the audience, evidenced by the volley of questions thrown at him during the Q&A session.

Event Date 
December 23, 2015
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