Conflict Resolution

Conflict in Jammu and Kashmir – PART II

Kumar asked:

Operations Other Than War

Operations Other than War (OOW), relate to activities devolving around the strategy of ‘Winning the Hearts and Minds’. It focuses on people as the Centre of Gravity, it believes in Conflict Prevention. For in the strategy of Conflict Prevention efforts are made to stymie the ills of conflict resolution, which deals with mechanisms required to resolve a conflict. Since conflict is a pattern of expression of human restraint, perhaps it is right to assume that it has come to stay. However, to prevent escalation beyond tolerance level, the essence of ensuring it remains within wraps is essentially information upload. OOW’s important objective is the information domain. It aims at meeting peoples aspirations through progress and development. It has to be visible and has to be a sustained meaningful drive towards achievement of excellence. The key to ‘Winning the hearts and minds’ campaign is to be understood, for it is the people who have to kept in mind, their needs, their culture, their values, their sensitivities and above all the need of speaking to them the language they understand, and that is the language of the heart. Surprisingly, the requirements of the people are very small. They just want to get a feeling of being cared for, a feeling of being heard and understood.

The Army has taken on this strategy in a big way by streamlining the activities toward four major focus areas. These are, education, health and family care, women empowerment and community development. All these areas are being addressed with the support of the Government machinery either at the State level or at the level of the Central Government, because it is important to give due recognition to the local administration and local authorities. The major implementation advantage is that the troops of the Indian Army are deployed right across, where the civil administration perhaps has very little direct contact with the people. It is in facilitation that generates goodwill and goodwill generates bonding and bonding is the fabric of the information thread. It is by these methods that there is a hope of drawing the people away the support base of the terrorists, of taking away the oxygen from the terrorists. In brief, therefore, this strategy is the base of winning a conflict and it requires sustenance and should be people driven rather that personality driven. Personalities keep changing and many take along with them the concepts or thoughts leaving a vacuum in the area of operation, but if you engineer a people’s movement who are the tools of successive personalities in the game of conflict prevention, it is only then, that their involvement and requirements cannot be brushed aside by any successor in the field.

To conclude I would like to once again browse over the factors covered during the course of my series on conflict in Jammu and Kashmir and would like to remind you that conflicts have become a part of our system and we have to cope up with this new challenge by essentially being watchful. There are no boundaries, no rear lines beyond which it will not be possible for the enemy, seen or unseen to reach. It is a vast playing field where the stake holders are the people, driven by certain mis-represented ambitions fabricated by a select few in perseverance of blind goals. The conflict in the State of J&K has been a long winded effort to destabilise successive governments and to ensure curtailment of progress and growth. The importance of this realisation that we have to adopt different strategies to suit the time, and believe in the concept of conflict transformation, cannot be over emphasised.

The demands of human security include a balanced view of tragedies that are the result of terrible omissions as well as dreadful commissions. Since security is often considered only in the context of military challenges and violent deeds, it is necessary to emphasise the massive toll of human neglect. An adequate concept of human security in the contemporary world must include at least a clear focus on human lives and should not only relate to security in the military context. The importance of defining the role of society cannot be undermined and social arrangements in making human lives more secure in a constructive way need to be thought out in a very deliberate way.


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