The Indian Army has undertaken a large number of Military Civic Action programmes aimed at 'Wining the Hearts and Minds” of the people in Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern States, as part of a strategy for conflict resolution. These programmes aim to achieve the following:-
Fulfilling the needs of the peoples and to alleviate their problems.
Development of remote and inaccessible areas where civil administration is barely existent.
Assuaging the feeling of alienation and moulding public opinion towards peace and development.
Fan the desire for firmer integration with the nation.
These civic actions include a wide range of activities across the entire spectrum of development and demonstrate the 'humane face' of the soldier. It is ensured that the projects are planned as per needs of the local population and are handed over to the state administration on completion.
The scope of Operation Sadbhavanaencompasses Infrastructure, Healthcare, Education (including Information Technology Assistance), Human Resources Development and National Integration Tours.
Operation Sadbhavana was launched by the army in 1998 in rural areas of J&K where terrorists and anti-national elements had wrought havoc by large-scale destruction of government property and public assets causing severe hardships to locals. An insidious attempt was also made to alienate the commonman from the national fabric.The need of the hour was not only to wrest the initiative back from the terrorists but also to reintegrate the affected populace with the national mainstream.
In such a scenario, the Indian Army was looked upon as one of the Governments organisations which could provide succour to the people. Under Operation Sadbhavnathe Army took up a large number of welfare and development projects. The focus of Operation Sadhbhavna has been on Quality Education, Women and Youth Empowerment, Infrastructure Development and Health and Veterinary Care. Educational/Motivational Tours outside J&K are undertaken to expose the rich heritage and progress of India for thestudents, youth and opinion makers. In addition, basic needs like 'Water Supply Schemes', Electrification' and Animal Husbandry' in far flung areas is given priority while planning projects based on a particpative model involving the local people, their elected repreentatives and civil adminstaration. Spending Rs. 450crores over the last 14 years, the Army has succeeded in improving the quality of life of populace and win their hearts and minds.
Quality education is a prime requirement in militancy-affected areas of J&K. The Army has established 53modern English medium Army Goodwill Schools underthe State Board and CBSE. These schools remain heavily subscribed and hostel facilities are also provided at few places and in some schools. Local teachers and support staff get employment opportunities andthese schools are well received by the people. In an effort to reach out to the poor children in the difficult areas assistance has been provided to approximately 2700 State Government schools.
Computer literacy centres have been established at a number of places including local government schools. This provides computer literacy to children, youth and women who have no access to such facilities in their locality.
Projects undertaken under Operation Sadbhavna have yielded tremendous results in improving the quality of life of the people and have provided major benefits by contributing to the local economy and generating employment oportunities. The projects undertaken by the Army are aimed at supplementing the efforts of the State government to improve the quality of life of people in the State and have helped in winning the hearts and minds of the people. It can rightly be said that, “Army belongs to the people and its commitment will last as long as the involvement of the people lasts…..”