Counterinsurgency and "Op Sadhbhavana" in Jammu and Kashmir

IDSA Occasional Paper No. 19

Prominent studies on India's counterinsurgency practice have criticised it for being excessively harsh and as having a conventional war bias. Based on a study of the Indian Army's initiative at “winning hearts and minds” in Jammu and Kashmir, this paper argues that such critiques have overlooked an important aspect of India's counterinsurgency strategy. Operation Sadhbhavana is evidence of the Indian Army's "organisational innovation and operational learning". This paper documents the various initiatives being undertaken by the Army, seeks to understand the manner in which they are perceived by the people, and suggests measures to ensure better implementation. It argues that such initiatives have had a limited but salutary impact in transforming the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir.

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