“Gar firdaus barroo-e zameenast, hameenasto, hameenasto, hameenasto”. Emperor Jahangir once described Kashmir Valley as the heaven on earth and till date, anyone who has visited the Valley of Kashmir cannot deny this fact. However, Kashmir has not been that gifted in terms of peace, with a long history of invasions by foreign raiders, its present too is infested by foreign sponsored terrorism. Ever since the Instrument of Accession was signed Government of India has been promoting sustainable growth in the region but the plague of unrest has been baring the infrastructural development of the region. To bring Kashmir into the mainstream, Governments over a period of time have tried to poster peace but it has been a long fight for normalcy. The Army has become an integral part of the valley in bringing peace for the last three decades. Along with fulfilling their duty to bring peace, they have also been contributing in upliftment of the region. Various initiatives of the Army have been guided by the simple principle of “Service before Self”, thereby increasing their connect with the Awaam. With utter disregard to own safety, the forces have always tried to keep the valley safe and pave a path for prosperity.
The Army has been serving in the region for a long to Khariyat and has been successful in depreciating the effect of militancy on its soil. With its continuous efforts in operations, the fighting spirit of the adversaries has been shattered. While the terrorists have always tried to misguide the Awaam by bogus religious propagandas, the Army has been constantly operating in a true warrior spirit. In many instances, the Army has displayed the most ethical and surgical conduct in operations, giving every chance to the terrorists to shun the path of violence and live a peaceful and meaningful life. The Army has displayed courage of standing amidst ensuing gunfights to bring back the misguided youth turned terrorists from the path of violence and returning them back to their families like their own brothers. The surge in the number of surrendered militants in the year 2020 provides testimony to this fact. Not only has the Army brought these youngsters back home but they are also helping to rehabilitate them back in the society. Apart from this the Army has been conducting operations in the most surgical manner by avoiding collateral damage, maintaining the sanctity of religious places and evacuating civilians immediately during encounters.On the other hand the terrorists are taking advantage of the youth of the region by brainwashing them thus drifting them into the darkness of armed conflict. The Army has also been focusing on curbing this menace by providing educational and skill development opportunities to the youth, thereby discharging another duty towards the betterment of society.
Apart from curbing foreign terrorism along with its influence on the local populace, various steps have been initiated under the Army’s Sadhbhavana Mission to achieve these goals. The Army has always focused on providing basic necessities like medical facilities through conduct of medical camps, improving educational infrastructure by building various schools and running scholarship programs for the needy children. The Army has also encouraged the youth in the field of sports by providing them appropriate facilities and opportunities for the same along with exposure to various facilities available in the rest of the country.
The Army has also conducted career counseling sessions and skill development programs as a step to induce employment generation in the region. Various initiatives have been taken by the Army to provide exposure to local youth to the outside world by means of educational and vocational tours. The significant increase in participation of youth in administrative services, army recruitments is evidence of the success of these initiatives. The achievement of many young Kashmir’s in the field art, culture, literature, sports and entrepreneurship is a testimony of Army’s efforts. These steps have made the Army one of the main contributors to the peace initiative in Kashmir.
Be it during adverse climatic conditions, during operations or any other natural calamity, the Army has always kept the interest and needs of the Awaam as its prime concern. Even during this time when the entire country is facing Covid pandemic, the Army has played a pivotal role in providing medical assistance and spreading awareness. The Army has also acted as a frontline worker through its Khariyat patrols.
It can be very well said that the long presence of the Army in the region has made it a part of Kashmiri society, not only does the Army understand its role as a peace keeping force but it has also never failed to perform its duties as a contributor to society. With all the initiatives taken by the Army for the upliftment of Kashmir, it is evident that the prime focus is to bring mainstream development to the Union Territory. The Army understands that while it may face challenges from its neighbors, bringing harmony to its own motherland and their people remains the number one priority. The people friendly actions and policies along with the ethical modus operandi of the Army shows that it can be termed as the‘’Citizen’s Army’’.