India’s Unrealistic Counterinsurgency Strategy
Learning no lesson from the past, and depending upon state terrorism, Indian Central Government has finalized the raising of Indian Reserve Police Battalions (IRBPs) in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Naxal/Maoist hit states or Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Out of the total 25 IRBPs proposed, five will be for IOK and 12 for LWE affected states whereas rest of 8, IRBPs for other states.
These battalions will be raised by recruiting local youths. In case of Naxal hit states, 75 per cent vacancies will be filled up by youths from the 27 worst-affected districts. In IOK, the recruitment process will concentrate on insurgency prone areas.
At present, there are 144 IRPBs in various states. In addition, Central Government has recently approved raising of eight additional IRBPs, four each of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The cost of raising each of the battalion will be around Indian Rupee, 61 crore and 75 per cent of it will be provided by the Central Government. This cost is much lower than raising of a paramilitary battalion which costs around Rs. 160 crore.
Personnel of IRBPs are normally deployed in their respective states, but they can be deployed in other states too, if there is a requirement. The current raising is outcome of demand by respective states government in wake of the ever growing/persistence insurgency and freedom struggle.
Within a span of approximately six months, Central Government of India has approved the demand which reflects the surge of militants/insurgent activities in the LWE hit states/ IOK. It also highlights the manifestation of focus to curb militancy and raise the force level to meet the challenges, which have been repeatedly expressed by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.
Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh has also repeatedly highlighted his focus to build the capacity of security forces engaged in fighting insurgency. The mentioned increase is a part of overall drive against Naxal/Maoist hit states and IOK.
Off late the insurgent/militant activities in LWE and IOK regions have seen a significant surge whereby Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have suffered causalities. Therefore, immediate attention has been paid towards the new strategy.
While, despite concerted efforts—capacity, capability, weapons, equipments and training, the Indian security forces could not effectively counter/reduce the insurgent activities in these states.
The recent surge of insurgents/militant activities in the Nexal affected states of India has compelled the Central Government to enhance counter insurgency efforts in other parts as well. Therefore, the Home Ministry has given a go ahead for not only raising the additional battalions, but also pursuing the support of helicopters/UAVs to cover/ assist the security forces engaged in anti-Naxal/Maoist activities in the affected states.
It is mentionable that under the mask of democracy and secularism, Indian subsequent regimes dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland—Hindutva (Hindu nationalism), used brutal force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura where wars of liberation continue in one or the other form. In the recent years, Maoist intensified their struggle, attacking official installments. In this context, Indian media admitted that Maoists have entered the cities, expanding their activities against the Indian union. While, even under the rule of Congress which claims to be secular party, Indian extremist parties like BJP, RSS, VHP, Shev Sina and Bajrang Dal have missed no opportunity to communalize national politics of India. They also intensified anti-Christian and anti-Muslim bloodshed.
After serving the BJP for 30 years, Jaswant Singh was expelled from the party for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah and echoing the pain of the Indian Muslims in his book, “Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence.” While pointing out the BJP’s attitude towards the minorities, Singh wrote: “Every Muslim that lives in India is a loyal Indian…look into the eyes of Indian Muslims and see the pain.” He warned in his book, if such a policy continued, “India could have third partition.”
Past and present history of Balkan gives ample evidence that insurgency and movement of separatism in one country have drastic impact on other neighbouring states. Similarly, civil war and unrest either in Somalia or Sudan have affected all the states of Darfur region, while violent uprising in Egypt, Syria etc. has radicalized a number of the Middle East countries. Indian state terrorism in the Indian-held Kashmir will further radicalize India, giving a impetus to separatist movements in other regions of India.
It is noteworthy that currently, more than half of India’s budget is allocated for armed forces, and defence purchases, leaving even less to lift millions of its citizens from abject poverty. Hence, various injustices have further accelerated regional and ethnic disparities in India, particularly, under the Modi government.
It is worth-mentioning that the one of the important causes of the disintegration of the former Soviet Union was that its greater defence expenditure exceeded to the maximum, resulting into economic crises inside the country. In this regard, about a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the former President Gorbachev had declared it as the “bleeding wound.” However, militarization of the Soviet Union failed in controlling the movements of liberation, launched by various ethnic nationalities. On the other hand, while learning no lesson from India’s previous close friend, Indian fundamentalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP extremist party is acting upon the similar policies.
At present, undoubtedly, India is witnessing increased incidents of violence and killings related to communal violence and insurgencies. Nevertheless, such incidents project security weaknesses and failures of the Indian government in curbing insurgent tendencies and problems of the public.
While, Indian government is raising Reserve Police Battalions to continue state terrorism, and on the parallel axes, announcement of rehabilitation schemes, development projects and incentives for surrender have been implemented to cope with the insurgency and uprising. It shows contradictory policy of New Delhi.
Instead of redressing the grievances of the Maoists by eliminating injustices against them and the Kashmiris by granting them their legitimate right of liberation, Indian government is again acting upon brutal force to suppress these movements through force. Therefore, India’s unrealistic counterinsurgency Strategy will badly fail, culminating into political suicide of the India union.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations