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actual relationship with the Hurriyat is. The nation has been kept in the dark for too long on this count. Fourth, the release of detainees from various agitations should be subject to assurances of good behaviour. Law and order is a state subject, no doubt, but when the situation becomes a problem of public order, the Centre will have to step in.
Fifth, conceptually, there is a need to reach out with a change of stance. The army must be seen to be reaching out and acting as a harbinger of peace. Its presence gives it the scope to do so. It should not be hamstrung by criticism of its involvement in the civilian domain, because there is no agency that can carry the new message forward as passionately as the army. Fifth, AFSPA as an issue must not be allowed to dominate the narrative. Its continuance is necessary until a new legal instrument is drawn up.
Last, an entirely new package must be developed for the youth of the state, in consultation with them. Previous special allocations need to be accounted and the balance outlay merged for fresh initiatives.
Handling the Line of Control remains the army’s responsibility. No hiccups must be accepted, or mistakes condoned. Let’s not get carried away at this stage with the undoable. Converting the LoC into an international border and creating soft borders are steps to be taken once we are confident we can handle J&K emotionally. Strengthening the institutions that deal with India’s oldest security problem, at the Centre and in the state, is essential to finding peaceful solutions to the issue.
The writer is a recently-retired lieutenant general and former general officer commanding of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps and with the research teams of Vivekanand International Foundation and Delhi Policy Group.