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Jedburgh 02-20-2007 02:01 PM

Understanding Indian Insurgencies
SSI Letort Paper, 20 Feb 07:

Understanding Indian Insurgencies: Implications for COIN Ops in the Third World

...The objective of this paper is to develop a theoretical perspective for analyzing the Indian experience with insurgency, and to discuss its implications for counterinsurgency in Third World countries. Understanding the affected population is essential for understanding an insurgency or planning for counterinsurgency. The contested population is not only the end; it is also an important means for the insurgent. The insurgents and government of the day compete with one another to control the population, as well as to gain the populace’s loyalty....

goesh 02-21-2007 02:53 PM

Democracy, Bad Indian Agents and Halliburton
I think any number of books could be written on the comparative analysis of 3rd world conflicts and insurgency and our own Indian fighting experience. We are looking at roughly a 260 year time frame of active Native resistance, roughly from King Phillip's War to Wounded Knee of 1890. Indian activists and militants in a non-hostile mode of today say it is a 500 year resistance, the point being that from such longevity of combat and cross cultural experience, there appears to be little draw-down on the lessons learned. Take General Crook for instance, that despite his brilliance against the Apaches, he was almost killed at the Battle of the Rosebud against the Lakota and Cheyene and his force was routed. Had Crook not been literally surrounded by a contingent of his Native scouts with lever action Winchesters, he may well have been killed himself. His brilliance and mistakes and many others like him appear to be overlooked and ignored. Why did Crook fail at the Rosebud? He had the logistics, firepower and manpower and he had native scouts and a wealth of personal command and combat experience. God knows he had the popular support of the American people too. Did he underestimate the charisma of Crazy Horse and leadership of Gall? He couldn't have been aware of Sitting Bull's vision quest and sundance that foretold victories against the hated Pony Soldiers. Contrary to our written history books, Sitting Bull was psychologically and spiritually prepping for the summer of 1876 for quite some time. Did Crook mistakenly regard Sitting Bull as a commander and not the Medicine Man he really was, thus having some corrupted Intel from the get-go? Were his interpretors telling him what they thought he wanted to hear and not what they were really hearing and seeing? Who knows. Is al-sadr really an Imam or a field commander?

As stated, there are a multitude of variables and approaches that can be taken in the relationships of our Indian wars and current 3rd world insurgencies. The hodge-podge title of my post reflects I think the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan where neither rhyme nor reason seems to account for the fact that we are not achieving what we know we can attain in those two theatres of operation.

Is there a parallel with the notion of trying to implement Democracy in 3rd world Muslim countries and trying to aculturate the Indians to our way of life in the 1800s? The best minds of the time thought the Indians would readily adopt and adapt to our way of life. Make farmers of them buffalo hunters was a popular idea at the time. Once they see the light, they'll switch over fast. To help them along, there was an attempt to suppress their spirituality. The Sundance was outlawed well into the 1900s. Peyote was outlawed until recently. Kids were literally taken to reservation schools, their hair cut short and they were punished for speaking their own language. This system continued on well into the 1950s. Make Christians of them heathens was the general idea of the time. What we fail to collectively comprehend is that Indians did adjust, adopt and adapt but on their terms. The underlying fact behind the high enlistment rate and the high decoration rate among Native Americans in time of war is they still regard America as their land. The rest of us are and always will remain boat people, immigrants and to some Natives, squatters with better weapons. Bear in mind the last time Federal forces were in the process of being mustered against an Indian insurrection was in 1973 at Wounded Knee II. If anything, the passive resistance by Indians via litigation and protest over what they perceive as cultural encroachment and domination is increasing. The most recent 'hit' our side took was the demise of Chief Illiniwek, the mascot of Illinois, whom the NCAA has deemed "hostile and abusive" to Native Americans. He has danced his last dance at games, folks. Now isn't that a kick to the dominant culture? Morality and ethics aside, it is demonstrative of ongoing cultural friction after the last official conflict ended 117 years ago at Wounded Knee I.

During the Indian wars of the 1800s, any number of field Officers had serious issues with a number of Indian Agents. Corruption was rampant and some Agents were allowing whiskey peddlers free access. The classic example of this is the Santee uprising otherwise known as the Minnesota Massacre. The Santee were experiencing real hunger and the corrupt Indian Agent made the statement, "let them eat grass". His body was later found with grass stuffed in his mouth and many innocent civilians died during the uprising on both sides. Some of the Santee fighters fled to the plains and joined forces with their Lakota cousins as well. I know there have been issues with our Military and private security contractors. Are Officers seeing corruption and other issues with private contractors that is detrimental to the Iraqi and Afghani people and ultimately our troops? If so, why aren't we hearing about it? What mechanisms are in place to deal with this? Where does the buck stop? Are Officer and enlisted men at all encouraged or expected to report corruption?

Jedburgh 08-19-2008 03:25 PM

HRW, 18 Aug 08: Getting Away With Murder: 50 Years of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act

In August 2008, India celebrates 61 years of independence and democracy. But many are lamenting another anniversary: 50 years of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA or “the Act”). Enacted on August 18, 1958, as a short-term measure to allow deployment of the army to counter an armed separatist movement in the Naga Hills, the AFSPA has now been in force for five decades in states in India’s northeast. Similar laws have also been used in Punjab and in Jammu and Kashmir.

The AFSPA gives the armed forces wide powers to shoot to kill, arrest on flimsy pretext, conduct warrantless searches, and demolish structures in the name of “aiding civil power.” Equipped with these special powers, soldiers have raped, tortured, “disappeared,” and killed Indian citizens for five decades without fear of being held accountable.......

Kevin23 08-29-2009 04:32 AM

COIN in India?
Counter insurgency in modern day India, a nation where a dozen or so insurgencies are being waged, has always interested me as a topic. However even though I know plenty about the conflict in Kashmir in terms of the insurgency side which is the most known insurgency within India. I'm more curious to hear about the tactics and forces/armed groups involved in other insurgencies within India like the Naxalite insurgency in eastern India and the the conflicts in Assam and Manipur, so on and so forth.

Also from what I take of it much of the insurgencies within India are fear from typical in many ways.

Klugzilla 08-29-2009 01:52 PM

Two possible sources
You may be way ahead of me on this, but I like the following two sources for this area:

Urban Battle Fields of South Asia, RAND, by C. Christine Fair

Understanding Indian Insurgencies: Implications for Counterinsurgency Operations in the Third World, Letort Papers, Durga Madhab (John) Mitra

davidbfpo 08-29-2009 06:21 PM

Minor pointers
The only Indian focus website I can recall: which is the South Asian Terrorism Portal and is Indian-based.

I know there are Indian think tanks on security / strategic studies and the Indian Army journals are all in English.


Jedburgh 02-19-2010 02:59 PM

Naxalites’ Urban Push: Will They Succeed?
IPCS, 18 Feb 10: Naxlites' Urban Push: Will They Succeed?

Undoubtedly, the Naxalites pose a serious threat to India’s progress. Their influence has spread across a few important states in the eastern part of the country, among which the worst affected by the threat include Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal and Maharashtra. Though the entire area of these states are not entirely in the grip of the Naxalites, certain districts within each state are under their serious influence. Among these, the districts in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh can be ranked the most affected....

....While there are several dimensions of the Naxalite threat; the objective of this essay is to discuss in particular the Naxalite strategy in urban areas.What are the implications of their urban penetration? What are likely to be the security implications of this new strategy of the Naxalites? More importantly, will the Naxalites be successful in carrying out their will in urban areas? How can this new push be arrested?

davidbfpo 03-29-2010 11:54 PM

Update on Indian COIN
Entitled Battling the Maoists in Jharkhand, a BBC report:

It is a difficult terrain enveloped in dense forest cover and spread over several square kilometres. East Singbhum district in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand has been considered the heartland of the Maoist insurgency for more than two decades now.

I'm other news items have appeared since the last update, so "It's the thought that counts".

Firn 03-30-2010 10:44 AM

This bit catched my eye:


It is an unnerving journey along the muddy tracts that lead to Derabasa village. The hills surrounding Derabasa are said to provide a safe shelter to the Maoists who not only take refuge here but also hold their training camps.

The Maoist guerrillas often seek food in the nearby villages and locals say they are caught in the middle.

"The Maoists come asking for food. They ask us to cook for them and feed them. The police ask us not to give them even a grain. Police are here today. But what will happen tomorrow? We will be at the mercy of the Maoist armed squads. Who is going to protect us then?" asks a villager who doesn't want to be named.

I hear the same complaint in several villages.

India offers certainly a lot of fertile physical, political and social terrain for such movements.


AdamG 04-06-2010 02:36 PM

'Troopers ignored warfare manual in Maoist den'
Calcutta News.Net
Tuesday 6th April, 2010 (IANS)


It would appear that the 75 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers who were killed mercilessly Tuesday by Maoists were seized with a death wish as they ventured 'blindly' into the Maoist den ignoring all warfare guidelines they were taught.

Jedburgh 04-09-2010 03:57 PM

CSIS, 8 Apr 10: A Modern Insurgency: India’s Evolving Naxalite Problem

The April 6, 2010, ambush in Chhattisgarh state, killing 76 members of the Central Reserve Police Force, marks the deadliest attack upon Indian security forces since the foundation of the “Naxalite” movement. Formed from a 1967 split within the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the insurgency has been responsible for decades of violence throughout eastern and central India’s “Red Corridor.” These loosely affiliated Maoist rebels claim to fight on behalf of the landless poor, virulently opposing the injustice and oppression of the Indian state. In response to attacks on police officers, government officials, and landlords, India has employed an assortment of counterinsurgency strategies that, over the years, have met varied levels of success. As the modern Naxalite movement continues to develop, the Indian government faces new complications related to one of its most destabilizing internal security challenges. Adequately addressing this threat will prove essential in solidifying India’s status as a rising world power, as well as demonstrating its capacity to effectively combat militancy.

Jedburgh 04-27-2010 03:44 PM

IPCS, 26 April 2010: Countering the Naxalites: Deploying the Armed Forces

A great deal needs to be done by the Central and State governments to undertake the long haul for dealing with the Naxalite menace. Periodic declarations that the problem will be ‘wiped out’ in three or four or five years must be dismissed for what they are—political whistling in the dark. The people need being taken into confidence that no quick or painless solution to this complex problem is possible. Does the Indian leadership have the courage to make a ‘blood, sweat and tears’ declaration? And not offer meaningless palliatives with an ear cocked towards the next elections? A great responsibility has also devolved on the civil and military bureaucracies to execute appropriate countermeasures and policies to deal with the Naxalite threat, without feeling the need to seek orders from their political masters to perform their Constitution mandated duties. Like the French bureaucracy in the Third Republic. But, unlike the bureaucracy in Gujarat, circa 2002.

davidbfpo 05-09-2010 10:45 PM

Death threats leave Jharkand politicians in fear
The headline for a BBC News report:

Senior politicians in the Indian state of Jharkand say they are living in fear and hardly dare venture from their own homes.In recent weeks Maoist rebels have begun issuing death threats against local Congress Party leaders - demanding they oppose the government's latest military offensive against the guerrillas. These are not empty threats. Earlier this month the Maoists gunned down Congress leader Govardhan Mahli in the East Singhbhum district of the state.
Beyond the headlines and some strange phrases - governance and governors under threat.

Link: and this link to a map of where this province is:

An earlier BBC report on the Maoist motivation:

Kevin23 05-22-2010 04:37 AM

In my own observations of the Indian government's dilemma in fighting the Naxalite insurgency, I've come away with some thoughts about this insurrection both from my readings and from this site. Most of them will appear obvious, however some of them are connections to one another and movements in the wider realm of insurgency.

. Even though very different in terms of ideology, history, as well as goals. The Naxalites and Middle Eastern insurgencies like the one in Iraq, share the common thread of focusing on the population of the areas they operate through exploiting the frustration with a situation to direct a population in the direction of an insurgency. As well as using oppression,indoctrination, and intimidation as ways to further solidly their control from the insurgent point of view.

.Like in Iraq in the case of Al-Qaeda and the foreign fighter elements in relation to the population, the Naxalites in the 22 Indian states that they operate in appear to have differing goals from those of the populations they fight among. As the population at least in the case of the tribals, seem to have grievances about both government and private exploitation. While some Naxalite commanders have other goals in mind, both in terms of ideological and material gain.

.The Indian armed and security forces seem to be making the same mistake of trying to crush the Naxalites head on while having little strategy of how to ply away the tribals from the Naxalites other then "through building development projects along with the counterinsurgency campaign or after the Naxalites have been defeated". The Indian government's strategy is also further plagued by the lack of direction, coordination, and discipline among many elements of the Indian forces involved in the counterinsurgency, which in the process seems to be driving some groups to the Naxalites not previously attracted to the insurgency.

. Overall another observation that could be made, is that the Naxalites and any success they have had is due to India's great level's of inequality and history of such. That has allowed groups like the Naxalites to exist and have some success. Which from this, the Indian government can take some comfort in showing that in many ways the Naxalite insurgency isn't a unique phenomenon. However, it also highlights the type of unrest in India that exists, and how more of it could be breed.

Bob's World 05-22-2010 04:54 AM

Well, if one were to apply The Jones Insurgency Model (shameless plug acknowledged) to the Governance / Populace dynamics of India, as well as China; that in the long run the U.S. has little to worry about either of these emerging economic powerhouses achieving their full potential.

They are quite likely doomed to devolve into debilitating insurgencies as the gap widens between the haves and have nots; exacerbating the four causal factors of Poor Governance.

Kevin23 05-24-2010 01:58 AM


Originally Posted by Bob's World (Post 98815)
Well, if one were to apply The Jones Insurgency Model (shameless plug acknowledged) to the Governance / Populace dynamics of India, as well as China; that in the long run the U.S. has little to worry about either of these emerging economic powerhouses achieving their full potential.

They are quite likely doomed to devolve into debilitating insurgencies as the gap widens between the haves and have nots; exacerbating the four causal factors of Poor Governance.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that both the PRC and India will succumb as governments to internal disturbances or insurgencies, because even under the Jones model both governments are attempting to at least play to the interests of all groups in their respective countries.. Despite the fact that all factors of poor governance exist in China and India. For example, India is democracy in which groups across the political, economic, and social spectrum have representation in which the interests and grievances of all groups are played to. In the case of China, the government in Beijing is also beginning to address some of the issues and problems under the Jones Model in the various provinces of China, with one instance of this being the rural-urban divide which has also translated into a economic/class divide as well.

On the last notes to this point, industrializing nations within the Western World also exhibited many of the symptoms under the Jones Model but managed to evolve into successful industrialized countries. Also in the cases of both China and India, both nations have a history of varying degrees of internal disorder, so at least in the case of India what makes such disturbances unusual?

However then again in world history, the issue of two nations with populations of a billion plus people and the conflicting interests and grievances that such a population brings.

tequila 05-28-2010 09:18 PM

An article in The Deccan Chronicle from a former IPS officer, contrasting how Andra Pradesh tackled Naxalism in the 1990s with the current special police/local militia offensive being undertaken in Chhattisgarh:

Make the war public


* A ban was imposed on the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and its front organisations like Radical Students’ Union and Progressive Democratic Students’ Union to check activities like bandhs and to stop fresh recruitment.

* A new legislation, Public Security Act, cut off the nexus between Naxals and their sympathisers in the affected villages.

* Intensive development of interior areas, particularly of roads and communications, was undertaken.

* A solution was sought to the various issues raised by extremists through a special cell functioning in the chief minister’s office.

* Employment was promoted in a big way. There was, in fact, a special focus on employing tribals in good numbers in all government departments, particularly the police, to give them a greater sense of participation in governance.

* Procurement of forest produce was taken away from forest contractors and entrusted with government corporations, thereby cutting off the flow of funds to extremists.

* A rehabilitation policy for those extremists wanting to leave the movement was put into action.

* Perception management, or counter-propaganda, through well-trained cultural troupes was undertaken.
A major issue in India is the drive to nationalize/federalize the Naxalite insurgency by bringing in the Army. Historically, most Indian insurgencies (excepting Kashmir) were tackled and resolved by the police at the state level.

Jedburgh 06-22-2010 05:35 PM

A series of articles from IPCS in New Delhi, published 14-21 June 2010:

Countering the Naxal Threat I: An Analysis of Earlier Efforts

Countering the Naxal Threat II: A Case for Specialized Units

Countering the Naxal Threat III: Use the CRPF and Avoid the Army

Countering the Naxal Threat IV: Military as an Option?

Kevin23 08-17-2010 03:07 AM

Here is an interesting article from Foreign Policy, about how the mining situation in the Naxalite infected region is both fueling their cause and providing funding and support to their operations.

davidbfpo 09-02-2010 09:25 PM

India's Maoist challenge: analysis
In summary:

India's long-running Maoist insurgency has increased in intensity in recent months. In April, 76 government troops were killed by Naxalite guerrillas in a brutal hit-and-run ambush near Chintalnar in Dantewada district in the central state of Chhattisgarh – the largest Naxalite strike in the group's 43-year history. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the rebellion as 'India's gravest security threat.
An IISS Strategic Comment:

Which ends with:

In the longer term, India's growing prosperity offers a window to tackle the structural roots of the conflict – but there must be doubt about whether the government has either the will or the political capital to use this opportunity.

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