Since the Mumbai attacks (and, indeed, before), several prominent Indian voices have said that we should tackle terror firmly, like, in particular, Israel. In fact several industrialists have demanded that Israel's Mossad train our own security and intelligence agencies.
Let us imagine what would have happened if we had dealt with, say, Kashmir the way Israel dealt with Gaza:
- We would have granted a narrow strip of the Kashmir valley, measuring about 350 square kilometres, "independence" and withdrawn our forces from there. However, we would have maintained control of all entry and exit points into the strip, and they would be dependent on us for imports, exports, essential supplies, power, and everything else.
- We would have demanded that they elect a democratic government. Then we would have declared that we don't approve of the separatist party whom they did elect, and blockaded them, starving them of fuel, food, medicines, electricity, and other essential supplies.
- When the residents of the valley, in frustration and anger, launch rockets at us (that mostly don't manage to hit anything), we will give them an ultimatum to stop. When they declare a ceasefire, we generally ignore the matter. When they offer to extend the ceasefire in return for lifting the blockade, we refuse.
- When we don't lift the blockade, and the separatists step up rocket attacks, we go ahead and bomb the daylights out of them. (The bombing would have been planned for several months, and any gestures by the separatists, or "terrorists", would be irrelevant.) Having packed 1.4 million people into 360 square kilometres, we can safely accuse the "terrorists" of cowardice in "hiding" among the civilian population. Real terrorists, of course, live in isolated houses with "Bomb me" painted on the roof.
As of this writing, I'm not sure what the next step is. But if anyone thinks Israel has ensured its safety with this bombing campaign, or that India has anything positive to learn from such tactics -- well, I'm glad such people don't seem to be in our government right now.
What India has actually done in Kashmir is not good, either. Though we like to point at Pakistan-occupied Kashmir's (and, indeed, all Pakistan's) lack of democracy, we have shamelessly rigged elections throughout Kashmir's history, to stop the undesirable guys from winning. It was after the 1989 elections were rigged that the valley erupted in violence, and if the violence has abated, it is more because of weariness than any new friendliness towards India. Despite the reduction in violence, we have not reduced the presence of our security forces, seen as an occupying force (just as, say, a huge contingent of non-Tamil troops enforcing "peace" in Tamil Nadu would be seen as an occupying force). Our media largely ignores the daily abuses that occur under these troops, as they must -- there never has been an external military that did not abuse the local population. There have been widespread reports of voters being escorted by the police to polling stations. Worst of all, now that violence has abated, non-violent protestors are being gunned down. For the (generally pro-India) Wall Street Journal's take on all this, see here; for a Kashmiri perspective, see here.
I don't know what the solution is to the Kashmir problem, but I do know that Israel doesn't have a solution to offer us. If we are to look for places to learn from, perhaps we can look to Britain (the Northern Ireland problem) or Spain (the Basque and Catalan problems). But not Israel, please.