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Paramilitary: Positional Uncertainty Redefined

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Writer: Dr Rupali Jeswal and Damien Martin
Is the Maoist movement gaining ground or has part of the insurgency relocated to surrounding states? AP is bordered by other states like Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Maharashtra which all add saturation and hues to the Red Corridor. The Greyhounds have been effective in their campaigns, however without respective forces in other states isn’t the current strategy failing to eradicate or adequately suppress enemy activities? Utilising paramilitary forces is easier said than done. Maoists attempting to decimate Caste systems and positions of governmental power hold little value in the grand scheme to stabilise India and protect the people. Stalin and Mao were not in favour of education, instead opting for the lowest common denominator in their proletarian revolution. Science by its very nature is evidence-based. Marxism, Leninism and Maoism separate or collectively attribute to millions of deaths and crimes against humanity. How successful were these revolutions? Selling false hope in an intangible product is criminal and morally unacceptable. It begs the question, what exactly is the “people’s war”?


Addressing the Maoist issue in India is a conundrum. On one hand increasing paramilitary activity is much needed but it’s not the total solution for the insurgencies that India continues to face head-on. To deploy a force in order to remove an opposing one leaves space for another opposing force to take its place. A winning trifecta of paramilitary deployment welded with education, training and a support programme which is then incorporated into an overall plan of governmental transparency is needed.

The first question should always be … why? Why are there anti-government forces? Is the government of any country, not just India, involved in activities unbefitting its people? Is a government corrupt and / or tyrannical in its pursuit of the goals of a few? Looking at the 7 demands from the Communist Party of India CPI(M) may be indicative of the driving force of the uprising.

A common Modus Operandi (MO) of insurgents and X-political movements is to act under the auspices of “rights”. These ad hoc groups claim to be fighting for the rights of the people yet more often than not the “rights” of the “people” are never listed, defined nor legitimised on merit. Stemming from a hatred of an opposing ideology / philosophy is at the forefront of most objections. This hatred is quite often a result of an injustice to a small group of individuals and feeds darkened revenge. Other times it's a simple case of greed for money, power and territories. The line of true purpose often becomes blurred and the plight of local people entwined in the misguided ideals of insurgents.

One of the topics raised by groups such as CPI (M) is that of the Indian caste system. There is substance in critiquing a caste system that continues to persist in the face of modern ideals like democracy, equal opportunity and individual freedom, however dissolving cultural roots artificially by war isn’t guaranteed to bring balance to social inequality. India, a middle power nation, with limited resources and lax human rights standards runs on internally uncooperative and ineffective governmental institution with flaws in various sectors overlapping and reinforcing the deficiencies leading to multiple omissions and violations. The essence of counter-insurgency operation lies in the structure and not in the roots anymore. The caste system is deeply rooted in Hinduism, historically setup by Vedic leaders. It has served India for thousands of years and to date in part has brought about solidarity and survival. Endogamy, a caste characteristic is also common in many other cultures and ethnic groups throughout the world. India is not the only country in the world to battle the question of caste. With contemporary lives and influences, ancient cultural practices by means of natural selection dilute and modify organically. Greek history tells us that Zeus was the God of Gods and from the first Persian Empire, Ahura Mazda was the Divine One. In Persia, where once it was Zarathustra, now in Iran and Iraq it is someone and something else.

Japan is an example of successful religious evolutionary integration. Originally a Shinto country – Shinto being spirituality indigenous to Japan and the people of Japan – at one point in time the Japanese government socially merged Buddhism with Shintoism. Nowadays Japan looks at religion and culture in a syncretic manner. That is to say there have been many events in history that have shaped modern Japan by way of integration. The royal family is still respected, the history and culture is being celebrated daily whilst the country / society continues to develop in parallel with modern global trends.

Maoists attempting to decimate caste systems and positions of governmental power hold little value in the grand scheme to stabilise India and protect the people. Stalin and Mao were not in favour of education, instead opting for the lowest common denominator in their proletarian revolutionist plans. Yes, the distribution of wealth needs to be addressed but Maoism is not the answer.

 

Marxism-Leninism-Maoism

− how can they coexist and prove the efficacy of wealth distribution? This theoretical trichotomy is a cocktail of disaster. Saying something is true doesn't necessarily make it so. Applying critical thinking instead of relying on blind faith to discover the true nature of a form of government is needed. Science by its very nature is evidence-based. Marxism, Leninism and Maoism separate or collectively attribute to millions of deaths and crimes against humanity. How successful were these revolutions? Selling false hope in an intangible product is criminal and morally unacceptable. It begs the question, what exactly is the “peoples war”? Evidence that corruption exists even when the imperialistic slate is wiped clean is stated here. From an article from Businessweek it stated the following:
“China’s attempt to level the playing field only broadens it.”“The richest 70 members of China’s legislature added more to their wealth last year than the combined net worth of all 535 members of the US Congress, the president and his Cabinet and the nine Supreme Court justices.”

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-02-27/china-s-billionaire-people-s-congress-makes-capitol-hill-look-like-pauper

Paramilitary: The birthplace of The Greyhounds is the state of Andhra Pradesh (AP). Formed in 2005 this elite unit was created specifically to address the activities of left wing groups. It has in recent years been successful in reducing Maoist support in Andhra Pradesh. AP is bordered by other states like Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Maharashtra which all add saturation and hues to the Red Corridor. Is the Maoist movement gaining ground or has part of the insurgency relocated to surrounding states? The Greyhounds have been effective in their campaigns, however without respective forces in other states isn’t the current strategy failing to eradicate or adequately suppress enemy activities? Utilising paramilitary forces is easier said than done.

The simple answer may feel like “Lets get rid of the Maoists and our troubles are over” when the real solution is the unison of Paramilitary (elite forces and intelligence), health and education, transparency of government. All of these elements will help quash any future uprising or insurgency and threaten internal security. Wars of today are all asymmetric in nature, what is happening with Free Syrian Army is also a pattern fitting to Mao. It’s the second phase of the people’s war. In a revolutionary war the principle – to strive to the utmost to preserve one’s own strength and destroy that of the enemy is directly aligned with political principles. From military history – in China’s war of resistance against Japan, the military action meant use of armed force to defend the motherland and to attain this, the operations of the armed units take the form of doing their utmost to preserve their structure and strength on one hand and destroy that of the enemies.

Mobile Warfare: Mao carefully defined as the form in which regular armies wage quick-decisions, offensive campaigns and battles on exterior lines along extensive fronts and over big areas of operations after this comes the strategic stalemate and then counteroffensive in the form of international allied powers. A successful people’s war is about gun rising! Phase III of a protracted war encompasses – Mobile warfare! As reported in many newspapers in May – “An audacious Maoist attack in broad daylight killed 24 people, including the top Congress leadership in the state.”

The states that harbour the CPI contain similar characteristics; a rural identity, impoverishment, contain an abundance of natural resources, home to tribal populations and comparatively higher illiteracy population rates. These areas are generally hostile and inaccessible making intelligence and policing slow and cumbersome. Not only are the guerrillas difficult to locate but so too are the weapons. Assault rifles are a combination of smuggled, used, homemade or reverse engineered and the explosive material used is generally fertiliser based. The latest attack in Chhattisgarh improvised approximately 30 kilograms of Ammonium Nitrate (H4NO3) in powder form. If the explosives contained a military grade substance like C-4 or Semtex or a putty derivative, the ability to control access and monitor is easier. Controlling, monitoring and tracking agriculturally based explosive material in rural areas like Chhattisgarh is likened to a needle in a haystack.

Guerrilla units in operation work swiftly, act secretly, ambush, bringing quick decisions and avoiding passive defence. With strategy the tactical defensive also includes the disposition of forces for resistance at narrow passes, strategic points, villages and rivers. The objective is to exhaust and deplete the enemy. However, the basic principle of guerrilla warfare must be the offensive and guerrilla warfare is more offensive in its character than regular warfare. The offensive, moreover, must take the form of surprise attacks. The attack in May (Chhattisgarh) shouldn't be all that surprising. Roughly termed, the insurgents utilise a flypaper strategy (strategy based on the Flypaper Theory) even in computer hacking there is a similar stratagem – A Honeypot. Did the convoy ignore the guidelines when travelling through Maoist-dominated areas? Taking into account technology, intelligence gathering and SOP it should not have been difficult to sanitise the route those key politicians travelled on. Indian forces combined operate approximately 60 Heron drones. The Indian media had also questioned why the US$ 4 million-plus Israeli-made Heron long-range surveillance drones flown across the region didn’t pick up a Maoist ambush team.

Countries with regions affected by insurgencies become a vanishing point for incompetent and corrupt officials, perverse interest of political parties harnessing assets to meet their own needs and maintain a semblance of normalcy, structuring electorate interest of dominant political party for their ‘hot seat’ lack of capable public administration, police agencies operating on rudimentary weapons, undermanned forces, weak infrastructures, deep-rooted conflict over landownership, struggles for the rights over mineral and forest wealth, exploitation of peasantry, unsupportive and corrupted Sarpanch, denial of wages, human dignity, justice – all this plays a significant role in alienating a large chunk of the working class. Dandakaranya forests are called the “Liberated Zone.” Carving out a “liberated zone” requires a military confrontation with the forces of the government. At what point did this fail?

Objective: Build combat power, arsenal and equipment and gain popular support. Risking their own life they need to build a reputation as the winning power. This means quick attacks against isolated government checkpoints, outposts, convoys etc – hit, inflict, capture and show. Propaganda war equals real war. Mao eloquently simplified the process by saying that rebel forces “must accumulate the results of these partial destructions of the enemy into major strategic victories”. Education is the opposite of ignorance. Are the Adivasis involved and if so is it by ignorance, necessity or coercion? What if there are innocent supporters that wish to leave. Is there apostasy from Maoist Movements? To educate people occupying rural areas there needs to be a compromise, a meeting of the minds between government officials and tribal leaders. Exposure to modern education in the fields of science, language, health and society should assist in moulding a more informed tribal society and including them in India’s future.

"We'll gladly put you at the helm of our little fleet. But our ships must all sail in the same direction." – Licio Lucchesi

The Maoist issue in many ways hinges on the education of the tribes people. They should receive quality assistance to emphatically stamp out the use and abuse by influential leaders of resistance groups. It may be Maoists now but could be another extremist revolutionary group later on. Providing qualitative solutions to quantitative issues is the key to regional cohesion. Basic Infrastructure: Roads, communication, energy, water, the building blocks of development are all largely missing. Operation Green Hunt may have hurt the Maoists but they are now more determined than ever. Remote areas not only lack administration but also schools and hospitals therefore preventing any competent officer being posted there. These areas are similar to Thailand and it’s own insurgency issues. Posting in these areas is termed as “punishment post”. Insurgents can merrily rally the local populace and foster an environment conducive for establishing parallel agencies and services replacing the government. Didn’t the Taliban arise from the status of a mujahideen group, a military unit and after the Soviet invasion ended they rose in power due to the weakness in the government and replaced the Soviet warlords in the Afghan government?

Endogamy, a caste characteristic is also common in many other cultures and ethnic groups throughout the world. India is not the only country in the world to battle the question of caste

The third phase of the Sino-Japanese protracted war began in the summer of 1945, as the Japanese forces were withdrawing from China. But they had not been defeated by a people's war; they had been defeated by the overwhelming power of the allies.

Both Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong had been farsighted in planning their "joint" struggle against the Japanese. Each had realised that the Allies would ultimately defeat the Japanese and that the crucial struggle for control of China would be between them. As for Mao's theory of the protracted war, it remains a classic of the military art and can be applied universally. (Mao’s protracted war: Theory vs practice. Lt Col John Woodmansee Jr USA).

The insurgents in India are talking about building-up of armies and preparing for a decisive defeat on the armed forces of the state. Whether it is decisively 2016 or 2050 the point is that with formation and progression of base areas and mobilising the masses, increasing their political consciousness to overthrow the state through gradual gain in the military strength and moving towards mobile warfare is a need to be met. If the age long Mao’s pattern is followed then next comes conventional war and counteroffensive in the form of international support, which is not just a rhetoric because the result of the Hamburg Conference last year in November clearly showed the international support to “People’s war” in India.

In the case of Uganda the protracted war went through all 3 stages, starting with agitation and clandestine operations between the years 1971-1978 then guerrilla warfare, mobile warfare and then conventional warfare with capture of Kampala in 1985.

Through the “Naga Narrative of Conflict” we know that politics provides the frame of reference in counter-insurgency. In the Mizo and the Naga insurgency the Indian Army was sent to quell the violence. The growing underground violence, the lack of visible political direction from Assam, the attitude of the local population towards the suffering of Naga population due to insurgent and counter-insurgent crossfire severed the link between Assam and the Naga Hills beyond any hopes of reconciliation. As a result the Nagaland state was formed in 1963.

The Maoist strategy is that not only do they oppose development, but also they take advantage of this feeling of neglect in remote underdeveloped areas. Indian counter-insurgency operations have always been enemy centric away from “hearts and mind” strategy and the successes of the Indian forces have never been clean, involving tradeoffs in the shape of criminal activity, corruption, dysfunctional systems and resulting in – further insurgency.

To subjugate insurgent activities an institutional overhaul is needed. The militants maintain their centre of gravity, which shifts for the task being carried out in dispersion, they have clearly defined tasks, fields of operations, places for reassembly, time limits for actions and ways and means of liaison.

"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it".
– George Santayana.

This quote is mentioned by many but understood by so few.

Resolute, ethical leadership is a necessity for any counter-insurgency operations. Men like Briggs, Templar, David Petraeus, Maj Gen RK Kochar (Retd) of the Indian Army, played key roles in getting agencies to work together towards a common goal. Insurgency affected areas contain 3 different categories of population: minority support base for the insurgent, a passive neutral majority and a silent minority that is against the insurgency.Counter-insurgency operators must be strategic enough to form a bridge between the silent minority and the neutral minority.


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