The concept of winning “hearts and minds” in terrorism-affected areas aligns with the principles of Insaniyat (Humanism), Jamhuriyat (Democracy), and Kashmiriyat (Kashmir’s legacy of amity), as articulated by former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
This strategy involves earning trust and support from local populations by engaging with communities, addressing grievances, and fostering positive relationships.
Social Contract and Governance Participation:
‘Hearts and minds’ strategy is rooted in social influence and persuasion, acknowledging people as active participants in governance.
Reflects the social contract theory where leaders gain legitimacy through the consent and support of the governed.
Government Measures in Jammu and Kashmir:
- Project Sadhbhavana: Aims at shaping the dreams of youth for a better future.
- PM’s Development Package: Focuses on creating employment opportunities and improving infrastructure.
- Project Himayat: Aims at providing training and employment for the youth.
- Project Umeed: Targets the empowerment of women.
- Infrastructure Development: Establishment of AIIMS, IIT, Jawahar tunnel, and Chenab bridge.
- Rail Links and Sports Initiatives: Introduction of new rail links and setting up Khelo India centers.
Success exemplified by Kashmiri footballer Majid Khan, who left LeT for a brighter future.
Sustained Efforts for Success: Success of this strategy hinges on sustained efforts, community engagement, and socio-economic development.
Commitment to Long-term Security and Peace-building: The strategy should be underpinned by a commitment to long-term security and peace-building initiatives.
Soft Power Approach: India emphasizes the principle of ‘Vasudev Kutumbakam’ and the constitutional ideals, advocating the use of ‘soft power’ over force and coercion in conflict-prone areas.