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K Raka Sudhakar Rao asked: Is there any material or books available on how terrain is helping terror in J&K?

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  • P K Gautam replies: I do not know of any book. Mountainous and jungle terrain helps insurgents as not all areas can be patrolled or kept under surveillance. It has natural camouflage and cover.Technology cannot provide all the solutions given the frequent rain or snow fall or mist. However there is a correlation between say forest cover and insurgency and also roots of insurgency related to forests or its products.

    In Jammu and Kashmir illegal felling may be one source of funds for insurgents . At times the anti- nationals elements generate a discourse on logging by the state to bring in the green agenda and thus grab international attention. The Indian Army through its Operation Sadbhavana has a green mission wherever possible. However there is a serious environmental degradation in Kashmir valley due to changes in rainfall and snow patterns, neglect of wetlands and pollution due to urbanisation. The deteriorating state of the Dal lake is a case in point . Forests that is not only in quantity but quality are important for the water recycling regime.

    In naxal affected forest region the relationship is more direct. Tribals depend not only on trees or forests but also on forest related products such as mahua , tendu leaf, etc. Their cultural and livelihood practices are related to NTFP (No timber forest product). The naxal struggle is one manifestation of the clash of perceptions on forest and mineral wealth pitted against the needs of an industrialising India.