The aftermath of Article 370: A overview of technological developments in Kashmir

In 2020 alone, the Indian armed forces killed over 225 militants, together with some 47 high commanders of varied outfits. They also arrested over 251 militants, recovered 41 improvised explosive units (IEDs), and underwent 111 situations of gun violence with over 37 grenade assaults. The 12 months additionally witnessed over 167 younger militant recruits. All these indicators of 2020 exhibit both a small or drastic enhance, when in comparison with that of 2019. Thus, indicating that the insurgency in Kashmir is way from over, whatever the developments following August 2019. In this context, it is very important assess the know-how that has facilitated the continuity of insurgency in Kashmir.

Firstly, the militants have continued to make use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and social media to serve their anti-Indian goal. Throughout the lockdown, extremist propaganda continued by way of Telegram, Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp vis-à-vis VPN servers. Even smaller and lesser-known messaging platforms similar to Nandbox got here into use—to flee rising state scrutiny. And when 2G web was restored with government restrictions, a number of small size video and audio messages, together with on-point texts and briefings started to recirculate. Further, content material, together with movies (generally from bodycams) and posters, proceed to advertise extremist and militant narratives. These centralised narratives by anonymous people point out that social media handles at the moment are being run by tech-savvy insurgents, making an attempt to cover their digital footprints. Most importantly, social media is also being used to familiarise and entice individuals to new rebel teams, such because the Resistance Front (TRF), People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF), Kashmir Tigers, Al-Badr, and so on. Thus, serving to Pakistan to color the battle with an indigenous and secular strategy.

In addition, the web and social media have developed with new vigour to coach fighters, as India’s elevated safety deployment, alerted safety grid, and COVID restrictions have reduced infiltration from 130 in 2019 to solely 30 by October 2020. Thus, videos offering directions, and introduction of weapons are being dubbed in Kashmiri, and are circulated on social media. Supplementing it, social media can be being used by people to direct the availability of weapons to rebel organisations. Militants have additionally used social media to threaten people important to Indian safety operations/ governance/ administration by releasing “target/hit lists”.

In addition, the web and social media have developed with new vigour to coach fighters, as India’s elevated safety deployment, alerted safety grid, and COVID restrictions have reduced infiltration from 130 in 2019 to solely 30 by October 2020

Another facet of know-how is the usage of weapons. Despite a well-liked notion of insurgents dealing with a weapons crunch, they proceed to use handguns/pistols, AK 47s, AK 56s, Insas, grenades, and IEDs. Another fascinating improvement is the invention of a lot developed and superior M4 Carbines. This US-made assault rifle was first recovered in Kashmir in 2017 and was anticipated to be equipped by the Pakistani army, and its particular forces. However, post-2019, these weapons have been found in a number of situations and can possible be used extra often, as intelligence inputs point out that the M4 carbines at the moment are being produced illegally someplace in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Supplementing it, latest raids have additionally reassured the debut of China-made EMEI Type 97 NSR rifles, and sticky bombs within the valley. Interestingly, most of those weapons are remarkably efficient in stand-off assaults and eliminating particular targets, and are additionally being airdropped from Pakistan with the usage of drones.

However, to counter these developments, the Jammu and Kashmir (JK) police can be being outfitted with fashionable know-how vis-à-vis the Police Modernisation Program (PMP). Initially, in 2019, the federal government had sanctioned some cash to purchase 50 unmanned aerial automobiles (UAVs) which have been later elevated to 100 in 2020. These class three UAVs are anticipated to watch protests and likewise take part in counterinsurgencies. The J&Ok police are, thus, intending to supply at least two drones per police station in a phased method. In addition, Indian forces are additionally being trained to focus on and shoot down the drones. However, to successfully deter the drones and mitigate their threats of weapons provide, the armed forces and J&Ok police must spend money on anti-drone weapons, nets, sign jammers, and anti-drone rays by way of their modernisation programme.

In addition, the police have floated tenders to procure bullet-resistant vests, explosives diffusing units, bulletproof automobiles, and over 50 armoured automobiles with put in GPS monitoring programs. They have additionally requested robots and fighter helicopter(s). These purchases are anticipated to scale back the casualties, and likewise conduct higher monitoring and surveillance. There can be rising significance for whole containment vessels or truck bombs and anti-mine vehicles to each detect and defuse bombs and IEDs, contemplating their rising presence and threats to the armed forces. Further, the police have additionally demanded over 4,000 weapon security programs, that are outfitted with GPS trackers and biometric know-how that lets solely authorised people use them. Thus, stopping terrorists from snatching weapons and gaining access to fashionable weapons and know-how. However, the gradual procuring course of, bureaucratic hurdles, and COVID-19 has continued to disrupt the scheduled provide. But as police forces face the crunch, militants proceed to be swiftly outfitted and upgraded with fashionable know-how due to the unlawful nature their of transactions. Therefore, indicating an undue benefit over the state forces and weapons. It is, thus, important for the state to quick observe the method and implement practices and legal guidelines that reduces the procurement length and crimson tape.

Social media and ICT has been one other main concern for the safety forces. For a serious a part of it, India’s cyber coverage in Kashmir has been reactionary

Social media and ICT has been one other main concern for the safety forces. For a serious a part of it, India’s cyber coverage in Kashmir has been reactionary. Its cyber labs (run by J&Ok police) persistently monitor propaganda movies, posts, and profiles, and share the knowledge with tech corporations, who then take away these channels, content material, and profiles from on-line platforms. But, because the course of just isn’t spontaneous, the content material would possibly attain the goal teams earlier than it’s eliminated. In this context, it is usually argued that handwritten and vernacular posts propagating terrorism keep longer on on-line platforms when in comparison with English content material. Hence, it has additionally develop into essential for the modernisation programme to push for innovation or borrowing of Artificial Intelligence (AI), that, together with the human labour, can contribute to fast and swift motion and monitoring in opposition to these posts and profiles. This will even be essential to keep away from blanket web bans, and thus, contribute to raised coordinated and carried out counterinsurgency measures. Further, AI will even assist counter faux information, violent propaganda, and likewise their anti-Indian narrative. Thus, offering area for India to interchange it with well-articulated, constant, and state-centric pro-India narratives.

The battle in Kashmir is unstable and the area has seen a constant circulation of weapons and know-how from Pakistan. The lack of crimson tape and the unlawful circulation of know-how to the militants has given them a bonus over the state actors. It is, thus, essential for the state forces to compete with the militants’ means and ease of technological procurement. It is barely with this technological benefit that India would have the ability to additional deter the continuing infiltration, weapons provide, and youth radicalisation in Kashmir, and, due to this fact, contribute to  lasting peace within the area.

Aditya Gowdara Shivamurthy is a analysis intern at ORF. He is a MSc International Relations graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).


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