Tuesday, February 1, 2011

9 February 2011: India's Counterinsurgency Strategy 2020

Vasundhara Sirnate
University of California, Berkeley

The presence of any insurgency is indicative of the absence or failure of regular models and processes of substantively representative democratic politics, and, the failure of conventional models of economic development. Today 20 out of 28 Indian states have at least one insurgent group operating on their territory. In the northeast alone at last count there were 117 insurgent groups (both operational and inactive). The Indian Maoists have been able to purportedly establish a presence in 220 Indian districts in what is called the “Red Corridor”. Levels of human security are abysmal in these parts of the country. Several insurgencies have acquired an economic logic and momentum of their own. In other cases, the extreme number of insurgent groups active in a given piece of territory has made pacts unviable, like in Manipur. The use of subcontracted force in Chhattisgarh has been severely criticized for the rise in civilian deaths and revenge killings that it generated. Many insurgent groups are located in areas where the state’s administrative presence is weak or historically exploitative; police-population ratios are low and regions that are heavily forested or mountainous. This has thrown up unique tactical challenges for the state and forced the state to experiment with different models of combating insurgency. Clearly, insurgency and counterinsurgency, between them, have generated sufficiently durable dynamics that have led to peace in some cases (like Mizoram), but have exacerbated the problem in other cases (Manipur, Chhattisgarh). While the persistence of insurgencies in India is definitely not conclusive proof that enough is not being done to combat them, it is still sufficiently indicative that current models of counterinsurgency, and, our understanding of insurgencies needs to be refashioned and repositioned in response to current evaluations of ground situations and what learning can be gleaned from these conditions.

Date: February 9, 2011 
Time: 11:00 A.M.


Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses,
1, Development Enclave, 
Rao Tula Ram Marg,
New Delhi-110010(INDIA)


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