Counter Insurgency

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  • Operation Golden Bird: Revisiting Counter-Insurgency on the India-Myanmar Border

    Operation Golden Bird, conducted along the Indo-Myanmar border in the North-Eastern state of Mizoram under the aegis of 57 Mountain Division (57 Mtn Div) in April–May 1995, has often been portrayed as a joint operation between the armed forces of India and Myanmar. In reality, however, this operation was planned and executed by the Indian Army alone, with troops ex 57 Mtn Div and those under operational control of Headquarters Inspector General, Assam Rifles (North) or HQ IGAR(N). The Mizoram police was excluded from the operation, at least in the initial stages.

    July 2016

    Karbi Insurgency in Assam: The Way Forward

    Karbi Insurgency in Assam: The Way Forward

    Over the years, endless corruption, mismanagement of funds, and failure to devolve power to the people has completely jeopardised the unique Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC), leading to the rise of Karbi insurgency.

    June 20, 2016

    Indian Army’s Approach to Counter Insurgency Operations: A Perspective on Human Rights

    Indian Army’s Approach to Counter Insurgency Operations: A Perspective on Human Rights

    The Indian Army has undertaken sub-conventional operations, especially counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism for over 60 years. During this period, there has been an evolutionary shift in its approach to such operations.

    Fit for Command: Leadership Attributes for PSO–COIN Operations

    Peace support operations (PSO)–counter-insurgency (COIN) operations are different and often significantly more complex than conventional operations. Such a complexity places greater demand on military leaders both at the tactical and operational levels. The diversity of tasks and threats, primacy of politics and the decentralized nature of PSO–COIN operations have serious implications for both junior and senior leaders.

    April 2015

    Insurgency in North-East India: External Dynamics

    State and non-state elements in India’s neighbourhood have been supporting insurgency in the North-East to weaken the Indian state. In the 1960s and 1970s, insurgents from the region, particularly the Naga rebels, had received moral and material support from China. Moreover, elements in Pakistan and Bangladesh too have been aiding North-East Indian insurgents from time to time.

    October 2014

    Sravan asked: What is the difference between insurgency, militancy and extremism?

    Vivek Chadha replies: The difference between insurgency, militancy and extremism often tends to take the shape of the context in which it has been used and therefore, its implied meaning becomes more relevant than the actual one.

    Anup Srivastav asked: How can BCIM corridor project boost strategic ties between India and Myanmar when it is believed to be aiding insurgency in India’s northeast?

    Udai Bhanu Singh replies: The cooperative principle behind the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC) is based on the “principles of mutual trust and respect, mutual interest, equitable sharing of mutual benefits…..and securing win-win outcomes.” The BCIM-EC Joint Study Group, which held its first meeting in December 2013 in Kunming, China, is aimed at improving physical connectivity, trade in goods, services and investment (including finance), environmentally sustainable development and people-to-people contacts. However, this a double-edged sword because when connectivity is exploited to encourage drug trafficking, small arms trafficking and promoting insurgency, then the principle of “mutual trust” is compromised. Such a breach of trust can not and should not be ignored or underestimated. In order to ensure that connectivity is not misused, stringent rules and implementation mechanisms have to be put in place. This can be made possible through built-in safeguards and improved facilities and infrastructure at the border check-posts.

    Posted on March 13, 2014

    Ashish Agrawal asked: What is the linkage between development and spread of extremism?

    Ashok Kumar Behuria replies: It is a truism that underdevelopment often creates the conditions for insurgency and spread of extremist ideologies among the people, who perceive that their needs are not being taken care of by the government. While it has been the policy of governments around the world today to emphasise on "inclusive development", there are always groups in every state who feel alienated because they perceive that they are left out of the developmental efforts. Such perceptions coupled with inefficient and corrupt governance create an ideal condition for extremism and militancy. More than lack of development, it is the perception of injustice, misgovernance and inability of the system to engage the disaffected lot that lead people to violence and extremism.

    Siddhartha Jain asked: What are the short-term and long-term solutions to the Kashmir insurgency?

    Ashok Kumar Behuria replies: Kashmir is a difficult issue woven into the nationalist consciousness in both India and Pakistan over the decades. India considers it its secular crown; Pakistan regards it as its jugular vein and its terra irredenta (un-redeemed territory that rightfully belonged to it). Hence, to expect an early solution is unrealistic. But the two countries must take measures to improve bilateral relationship progressively and create conducive atmosphere for such thorny issues to be discussed in a dispassionate manner.

    Short term measures could be keeping the official and unofficial lines of communications alive even in the face of gravest provocations from the spoilers, and keep discussing the issues isolated under the composite dialogue. The progress made through dialogue begs for better dissemination through media. More regular dialogue between security establishments is another measure which may moderate Pakistani approach towards India. Moreover, peace along the LoC and international border should be ensured by both the countries at all costs.

    Long term measures could be setting up a high level joint body from both the countries at a semi-official level and encourage it to thrash out issues related to Kashmir, and identify shortcomings in various approaches adopted by both the countries so far. There is also a significant body of literature on how to resolve the Kashmir issue based on measures adopted by countries at the international level while dealing with similar cases. Issues like porous borders, shared control, joint sovereignty, neutral terrain, etc., have been discussed in the available literature. Such efforts can tap into the existing literature and suggest alternatives to both the governments.

    Left-Wing Extremism and Counterinsurgency in India: The ‘Andhra Model’

    India has a long history of left-wing extremism. The largest and most powerful left-wing extremist group today is the Communist Party of India (CPI) (Maoist), which is active in many states across the country. Its ultimate goal is to capture power through a combination of armed insurgency and mass mobilisation. In recent times, the southern state of Andhra Pradesh has achieved notable success in counterinsurgency operations against the Maoists. This article outlines the ‘Andhra model’, which involves a mix of security, development and political approaches.

    July 2013