Times Of India Editorials : Kashmir encounter

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Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan’s terror factories keep running

Five security personnel were martyred and two terrorists killed over the weekend in a fierce encounter in Kashmir’s Kupwara district. Among the soldiers who sacrificed their lives was Col Ashutosh Sharma, a decorated commanding officer of a Rashtriya Rifles battalion, while the slain terrorists included a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander named Haider. Reportedly, the two terrorists were part of a larger group of seven terrorists who had tried to infiltrate the LoC in early April. Five of them were killed back then, but Haider and his partner managed to escape and this time took civilian hostages at Chanjimulla in Handwara, leading to the encounter.

The incident shows that Pakistan’s terror factories continue to operate despite the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, army chief MM Naravane has affirmed that Pakistan’s strategy of pushing terrorists across the border continues unabated (without any reduction in intensity or strength). It’s likely that Pakistan is actually trying to take advantage of the Covid-19 outbreak and hit India with terror strikes when the latter is trying to control the epidemic. Plus, the nullification of special status of Jammu & Kashmir by New Delhi last year didn’t lead to the kind of unrest that Islamabad had expected.

All of this shows Pakistan won’t give up on terror no matter how difficult things become. In such a scenario, India needs to maintain vigil and strike back against any Pakistani terror designs. At the same time, keeping channels of regional cooperation open is wise as exemplified (typify) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video conference with all Saarc members to discuss a combined effort to fight Covid-19. New Delhi has no choice but to keep up outreach to Pakistan even as it fights the latter’s proxies, in the hope that Pakistan will one day give up on its chosen feud with India that is as relentless (continuing) as it is pointless.

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