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  • Rajesh Singh asked: What is the difference between insurgency and terrorism?

    S. Kalyanaraman replies: Insurgents, by and large, target the security forces and the state apparatus. They work to mobilise the people, acquire popular support and eventually overthrow the government. Insurgents, in Mao Tse-tung’s famous formulation, are the fish and the people are the water in which these fish swim. In contrast, the common people are the targets of terrorist violence today, although this was not the case when terrorism first emerged in the modern era. When terrorism came to be first employed as a strategy in the late 19th century, the targets were symbols of political authority—kings, emperors, viceroys, political leaders, government officials, etc. Further, these attacks were intended to serve as ‘propaganda by deed’, meaning advertisement for the cause. And these attacks were carried out only as the final resort and mainly against autocratic rulers and governments. In contrast, ‘there are no innocents’ is the motto of contemporary terrorists who moreover target democracies in the first resort. And, unlike 19th century terrorists who proudly proclaimed that they are indeed terrorists, terrorists today cloak themselves in the garb of freedom fighters and holy warriors.

    Be that as it may, both insurgents and terrorists engage in violence in order to attain certain political or increasingly politico-religious objectives-national liberation and independence, establishing a communist system of government or an Islamic form of government, restoration of the Caliphate, etc.

    Posted on 4 May 2012

    The Conscription of Children as Ultras in Manipur

    The Government of India may perform a catalytic role to activate community-cum-family based endeavours with particular emphasis on sports-related and youth activities—areas in which the Manipuris naturally tend to excel.

    May 04, 2012

    Ganesh Pol asked: Well coordinated terror attacks in Iraq show substantial al Qaeda presence in the region. Has the nine year old US-led ‘global war against terror’ in Iraq failed?

    Prasanta K. Pradhan replies: Al Qaeda started its activities in Iraq after the American invasion in 2003. Throughout these years, al Qaeda has given a tough fight to the American as well as the Iraqi national forces in charge of the security. Though the US has withdrawn its forces from the country, it has not officially declared the war against terror in Iraq as over. Al Qaeda is far from being extinct in Iraq. It has lost many of its cadres and often looked weak, but has still managed to sustain itself and has undertaken terrorist attacks at frequent intervals. Thus, if one judges the success or failure of the war against terror in Iraq on the basis of sustenance of al Qaeda, and its ability to undertake high impact attacks, then clearly, the US-led war has not been successful so far. But one must understand that war against terror in Iraq is only part of a bigger geo-political canvas and it would take a long time for this war to end.

    Somali Piracy: A Form of Economic Terrorism

    Piracy over the years has been driven by geography, political instability and the availability of safe havens. Apart from these established factors, economics too play a role. This article reviews and examines Somali piracy, which has flourished due to the international community ignoring the growing instability in Somalia, the rampant illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping. It examines the international response, the legal and economic factors and advocates that piracy be viewed as a form of economic terrorism and be combatted as such, as well as by land-based operations.

    March 2012

    The Non-Aligned Movement and Nuclear Security

    Despite not taking a stand on nuclear security or nuclear terrorism, the NAM appears determined to adopt key elements of nuclear security.

    March 16, 2012

    Sticky Bomb Creates A Sticky Situation For India

    India will have to take a call on whether the pivotal position of Iran for reaching Afghanistan and Central Asia outweighs the benefits India derives from its relationship with the West and the Arab world.

    February 17, 2012

    Terror Changes Its Spots

    The 13/2 terrorist attack against the Israeli diplomat exposes India to the possibility of a more potent and professional group, which may have already raised the capability levels of indigenous terror cells and created a threat which is both real and potent.

    February 14, 2012

    Amit Kushwaha asked: Is employment of UAVs / UCAVs instead of manned aircrafts a better option for combating insurgency and terrorism in India?

    Vivek Chadha replies: India follows the principle of minimum force during combating insurgency and terrorism. With this as the backdrop, the employment of aircraft for offensive roles is ruled out given the possibility of collateral damage and escalation involved. It is only helicopters which are used for logistics (supply) and casualty evacuation in our context, and at times for movement of forces to ensure better mobility and flexibility. Therefore, while UAVs and UCAVs may not have a direct replacement role vis-à-vis aircraft, however, they can certainly be used for surveillance and tracking purposes. This would help conduct clinical and hard intelligence based operations which are in the spirit of India's counter-insurgency doctrine. Their employment for precision and guided strikes is not relevant in the Indian context, as it is against the very ethos of minimum force - a fundamental principle followed scrupulously.

    2011: A Strategic Survey

    The year 2011 will stand out in history as the year of the Arab Spring, when people in Northern Africa and West Asia rose up against tyranny and revolted for political emancipation.

    January 04, 2012

    India’s Internal Security: The Year That Was, The Year That May Be

    India’s internal security situation in 2011 was relatively better than in previous years. To ensure that 2012 also turns out to be a quiet and secure year, New Delhi not only has to consolidate the gains made in 2011 but also undertake new initiatives to address these gaps.

    December 13, 2011