Terrorism Update
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National Responses to Terrorism
Ajai Sahni*

National Security Paper - 2009
United Services Institute

A year after the debacle of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, and with a relatively unprecedented response from the national security establishment, the considered and sobering appraisal of India's Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, was that "the vulnerability (to terrorist attack)… has remained the same since 26/11. It has not diminished nor has it enhanced."1

This assessment came in the wake of a slew of initiatives,2 particularly emanating from a significantly revitalised Union Home Ministry under Chidambaram, following 26/11. The publicity around these various initiatives appeared to suggest, first, that India's political leadership had finally been shaken out of the stupor of indifference and neglect that had rendered the country bereft of effective protection against terrorism, and, second, that we will soon be quite secure.

Both propositions are, at best, half truths. Certainly, there has been a measure of reorientation at the Centre, and the political leadership, led directly by the Prime Minister, was projecting a degree of urgency that had not been seen before. But this enthusiasm is largely limited to the Centre. The States, by and large, remain mired in apathy, though limited initiatives have been taken in Mumbai, and some States may have shown a greater willingness to improve their often-dysfunctional policing and intelligence systems, and to integrate these more effectively with a slowly crystallizing national effort. The cumulative impact of all this is, however, no more than marginal and will do little to safeguard India against another terrorist outrage, or to distinguish Indian responses from the debacle of 26/11, when another such outrage occurs.3 Worse, decades of deliberate neglect and confusion have crippled the Indian internal security system to such an extent that no incremental augmentation of capacities can now equip it to handle the magnitude of accumulated threats that now confront the nation, and nothing short of a fundamental and comprehensive transformation of systems can, in fact, create the confidence of response that is necessary. This, regrettably, remains a far prospect, and the unfortunate reality is that 26/11 and the rising threats of terrorism, insurgency and political violence across the country, have only provoked small elements in the Indian political system to a sense of urgency. Much of the remaining system remains trapped in indifference, ritualism and corruption - but most crucially, also in ignorance. Such a patchy response, what is often, at best, no more than "a hurried rearrangement of the security furniture",4 can hardly be relied upon to secure the country against the relentlessness of contemporary terrorism and the unwavering intent of its state sponsors, or against the rising tide of violent internal discontent.

A short lexical aside is necessary here. There is, of course, a very wide conceptual distinction between terrorism and insurgency, but this has become progressively irrelevant in the contemporary context. The reality, today, is that all insurgent groups, in some measure, employ the tactics of terrorism; every terrorist organization, on the other hand, does have some insurgent base. Most contemporary 'sub-conventional' or 'irregular' wars employ a strategic spectrum that seamlessly integrates insurgent and terrorist paradigms. This paper, consequently, largely ignores the distinction between these two categories, speaking, instead, of terrorism-insurgency and counter-terrorism - counter insurgency (CT-CI) as recurrent composites, rather than as distinguishable or unique phenomena.

1. A Crisis of Conviction5

India's CT-CI failings are rooted in a complex of reasons, including particularly the crippling and cumulative deficits in capacities of response6 that drastically circumscribe the very possibilities of effective remedial action. But these are equally inexplicable, given India's size and resource configuration, unless we factor in the critical collapse of political and social will that has been insidiously engineered through the injection and entrenchment of a deep obscurantism, a muddying of clear and morally vital distinctions, in some of the most perverse arguments that have systematically undermined effective counter-terrorism capacity building and efforts. It is the paralyzing burden of "constraints imposed by our current doctrine and institutionalised inertia"7 that have prevented - and will continue to prevent - rational responses to terrorism, insurgency and other patterns of mass political violence in India (as well as in several other afflicted theatres across the world).

Despite apparent and often fierce condemnations of terrorism, particularly in the wake of major terrorist attacks, the reality is, these are almost never unqualified. The near-universal revulsion against particular terrorist acts is not translated sufficiently into strategy and action against terrorists, or, crucially, into the acquisition of necessary and sufficient capacities to fight the scourge. Indeed, there is a powerful stream of justification that underlies the liberal democratic critique of terrorism, and it is this backdrop that gives terrorism its greatest force. Terrorism works. Given the moral ambivalence of the liberal-democratic world, its practitioners bear no permanent stigma and, under appropriate circumstances, are quickly able to re-invent themselves as advocates of 'peace', as political leaders, world statesmen, and even as worthy recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize - as was Yasser Arafat. Across the world, and with strong manifestation in India, we see the most powerful advocacy - both by terrorist 'fellow travelers' and the ranks of 'good people' mouthing politically correct platitudes - of conciliation, appeasement and a range of inchoate political and developmental 'solutions', in the face of unending carnage. Indeed, after decades of unremitting terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir and the slaughter of tens of thousands of the very people the jihadis claimed to seek to 'liberate' (and the absolute denial of human and political rights to people in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, including the denial even of Constitutional recognition to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan), Pakistan is able to rightly boast that it has been able to bring the 'Kashmir dispute' to the world's attention through its deceitful and bloody jihad.

Contemporary terrorism draws enormous strength from two factors: the ample and predictable rewards it secures; and the legitimacy of extreme (terrorist) violence within particular societies, certainly those that benefit from this reward system, but also often including a number of societies that are directly threatened or targeted by such violence. Among those who claim adherence to the liberal democratic ideology, there is only an occasional voice that has seen fit to defend the Constitutional order, and most have, willy-nilly, become apologists for those who engage in extreme and indiscriminate violence. With romanticised imagery and the strangest invention of arguments, even serious academicians arrive blindly at entirely preconceived conclusions,8 in an "astonishingly philistine, know-nothing posture, blocking any deeper understanding of the terrorist's mentality and motives".9 These justifications of terrorism, with little consistent evidence, continue to be advanced by those who proclaim and see themselves as advocates of freedom and non-violence, and who argue that the response to such terrorism should not involve, or should minimize, use of force by the state. These arguments enjoy immense popularity, and they are constantly undermining the ability and capacity of democracies to effectively defend themselves against a pattern of warfare - often supported by inimical foreign powers - that constitutes an increasing threat to their very survival.

Before a coherent CT-CI effort and doctrine can be designed, it is imperative that the legitimacy of such arguments be examined. There is a need to realize that those who still demand the people's blood in their quest for political transformation or religious renewal, treat the people as sacrificial animals, offered up to an unseen - secular or religious - deity in the hope of an uncertain earthly utopia or heavenly paradise. There is little difference between the modern ideologies supporting terrorism and primitive blood sacrifices - they are obscurantist in their ideological content and their political intent; and they are just as unreliable as pathways to promised salvation. They continue, nonetheless, to hold large masses of men - and among them, many a good mind - in thraldom.

It is necessary, consequently, to examine some of the contemporary myths that have so effectively been harnessed by the terrorists and their supporters, and that have been uncritically internalized by so many 'intellectuals' within the liberal-democratic fold, including powerful lobbies in national governments, paralyzing international capacities of effective response to a scourge that threatens the most fundamental structures and institutions of free societies.

Perhaps the most intuitively powerful of these fables is the 'theory of root causes', the assertion that terrorism cannot be countered by force, but demands an understanding and redressal of 'underlying' grievances and sources that 'provoke' such violence. A great deal of deliberate obfuscation underpins this 'theory', and it is useful, at the outset, to clarify basic distinctions between types of causes. It is, without exception, the case that a causal chain can be traced out for every terrorist movement or incident - there can, after all, be no 'uncaused event'. But the assertion that 'root causes' underpin violence is fundamentally different: it amounts to the claim that there are certain unique and identifiable necessary or sufficient conditions that instigate every act and manifestation of terrorism. The most significant among 'root causes' that have been opportunistically identified include poverty and real or perceived deprivation. This thesis, however, has no empirical basis and numerous studies have demonstrated its manifest speciousness (though these have done little to diminish its appeal). Indeed, a review of the literature on the search for 'root causes' of terrorism, for instance,

…provides little reason for optimism that a reduction in poverty or an increase in educational attainment would, by themselves, meaningfully reduce international terrorism. Any connection between poverty, education, and terrorism is indirect, complicated, and probably quite weak… Moreover, premising foreign aid on the threat of terrorism could create perverse incentives in which some groups are induced to engage in terrorism to increase their prospects of receiving aid. 10

Some other distinctions in the notion of causation help clarify the issue further. Certain factors may, of course, constitute 'predispositions' to violence - but these predispositions exist in every one of use. Who has, in a moment of grievous anger, not imagined inflicting terrible retribution on an antagonist? Such impulses, however, remain unrealized in most cases, unless suitable 'triggering factors' and facilitators are not brought into play. Even where violence is initiated, in an overwhelming proportion of cases, it quickly subsides. Its protraction or perpetuation depends on a unique sustaining dynamic that is quite unrelated, both to the original predispositions and to the triggering events or circumstances. This means that, even if the original causes or triggers are 'redressed' such violence could continue if the sustaining dynamic - in the form of a range of newly established equations of power and flow of resources to particular and violent elites - is not neutralized. Conversely, if this latter dynamic is, in fact, neutralized, violence has been found, again and again, to end, even if the so-called 'root' or 'triggering' causes remain intact. As one study on the collapse of terrorism in Punjab notes, "Little change was noticed in the objective conditions, and none of the adduced reasons or causes of the rise (of terrorism) appear to have been removed…. Once the movement collapsed, one was left wondering how could it disappear so suddenly and without leaving a trace of cultural sympathy for the 'fighters'."11 The 'root causes' thesis is, in fact, an enormously influential but essentially doctrinaire and unverified position which has drastically circumscribed the range of policy options available to counter-terrorism policy in moments of grave crisis.

Closely intertwined to the 'root causes' thesis is the dominance of the 'developmental solution', the assertion that the challenge of terrorism cannot be addressed through security responses, but must be resolved through the implementation of a range of programmes for poverty alleviation and the 'empowerment' of disadvantaged groups, to undercut the 'recruitment pool' of terrorist and violent political groups. This is another unexamined shibboleth, essentially based on the a priori reasoning that nations or regions that have attained a high measure of prosperity tend to escape the blight of terrorism. This is, in the first instance, historically inaccurate. Some of the first terrorist movements of the post-World War era (substantially fuelled by the export of extreme Left Wing ideologies and material support from the Soviet Union) emerged in the affluent nations of Western Europe and in a reconstructed Japan, and Northern Ireland is certainly not located in the Third World. Some of the most affluent countries of Europe, today, find themselves susceptible to extremist Islamist mobilization and terrorism, even, indeed, as does the US (despite its minuscule Muslim population).

More significantly, however, developmental strategies as a response to terrorism have not only failed in the past, they are doomed, by their very character, to failure - and this is dramatically the case in India. These are, in reality, politically correct but utterly impractical solutions, based on half truths and a refusal to recognize the actual constraints within which states respond to the challenges of terrorism. Essential corollaries here are:

  • You cannot develop what you do not control. Significant levels of terrorist and insurgent violence almost invariably provoke the breakdown or weakening of governance across wide areas. The principal source regions of terrorism and some of their target regions as well, have large expanses of territory that are divested of effective governance. In situations of widespread breakdown of law and order, and of institutional collapse, 'leakages' tend to account for the overwhelming proportion of developmental expenditure, with little of the allocated finance actually reaching intended beneficiaries. As one commentator notes, "the weaker the democracy gets the more the black economy flourishes".12 The state's mechanisms of delivery of social services, of administration, and of relief in times of disaster, are severely eroded, if not non-existent, in areas afflicted by widespread terrorism, insurgent violence and disorder. Overwhelming proportions of developmental funds in areas of conflict are mis-utilised or simply siphoned out without any measure of accountability.

  • 'Development' is not something that can be ordered off a menu card. The state's absolute capacities to deliver an acceptable level of development to populations in the principal 'problem areas' are themselves limited by demographics, the available natural, financial and human resource base, and structural infirmities.13 This makes developmental transformations as an instrument of response to insurgency and terrorism, within any realistic (prophylactic or remedial) time frame, impossible. Simply put, no society in the world has ever 'out-developed' an ongoing insurgency or terrorist movement.

  • Dangerously, the 'developmental solution' has progressively become an alibi for persistent failures to address immediate tasks of response. The moment a security response is conceded to be a necessary rejoinder to terrorist depredations, administrations become immediately accountable, and are required to demonstrate on a day-to-day basis what they have done to improve capacities and protocols of response to terrorism. On the other hand, once it is conceded that the 'solution' principally lies in development - an outcome that can only be achieved over the years and decades - administrations are easily and indefinitely able to evade responsibility. Crucially, the time frames of counter-terrorism and developmental policy cannot be reconciled. Counter-terrorism demands immediate responses; development is, by definition a long-drawn-out process.

  • While the rhetoric of 'development' dominates the discourse in areas of major conflict, there is little evidence of a sustained effort at development or good governance in areas within affected countries - particularly in the rural hinterland - where there is no significant manifestation of insurgent or terrorist violence. Poor governance and the lack of efficient implementation of developmental programmes does not, for instance, only afflict areas where Maoist disruptive dominance has made it impossible to deliver administrative services, but is a reality almost across India, and certainly across its entire rural expanse. Overwhelmingly, where considerable progress could be secured in the absence of significant political violence, and that could act as a bulwark against the expansion of terrorist mobilization, such progress remains elusive in the face of governmental apathy, ineptitude, corruption and complicity.

  • Crucially, an overwhelming proportion of developmental resources and aid actually flow into the vast underground economy of terrorism, strengthening the very edifice that they are intended to dismantle. This includes the numerous and dodgy 'charities' and 'non-governmental' organizations that facilitate a flow of funds to terrorist groups, as well as such terrorist groups themselves, adding to vast revenues they generate through extortion, organized criminal operations, drug trafficking and the various powers of surrogate 'governance' that they assume in areas of dominance. Developmental aid, moreover, flows directly into various complicit structures of terrorism-sponsoring states.

  • Critically, what is missed out in the developmental debate is the fact that not every problem has a neat and easy-to-implement solution. Indeed, the developmental deficits in India's troubled areas (and those of the wider world) are so enormous that any realistic assessment would need to conclude that they will remain substantially unmet in the foreseeable future. More fundamentally, it should, by now, be abundantly clear that meeting the needs of an Indian population of 1.16 billion, and growing to 1.56 billion by 2050, at consumption standards that would be comparable even to the lower classes of Europe, is an unsustainable goal, and would potentially destroy the environment and would pollute or exhaust most known natural resources.

  • None of this is intended to imply that Governments are free to ignore the tasks of development. But developmental objectives must be pursued as inalienable responsibilities of the state towards its citizens, and not as a response to the challenge of terrorism.

The 'root causes - developmental solution' argument is, in fact, no more than a disguised and hollow tautology. It rests, simply on the unverified claim that the lack of development (poverty) is the 'root cause' of terrorism, and then prescribes the 'elimination' of this 'cause' as the 'solution', with no reference either to available resource configurations and administrative capacities, or to any rational assessment of the deficits that would need to be met in order to secure 'success'. This is analogous to suggesting that the 'solution' to poverty is wealth; or the 'solution' to disease is good health - both claims are impeccably true, but imagine the reaction of a cancer patient being advised by his doctor to 'go home and be healthy'!

Another contemporary 'idol of the marketplace'14 is the insistence on a 'negotiated' or 'political' solution to terrorism - something that is currently and greatly emphasized in the pursuit of 'accords' across India. There has, in many theatres of intractable conflict, been an easy tendency on the part of mediators to seek to negotiate the future of millions of victims of extreme and barbaric violence with its worst perpetrators. There is, of course, a certain logic to this. If you want to stop the killing, whom do you talk to, if not the murderers? But this is facile. The 'political realism of appeasement'15 has disastrous consequences, and this consideration is particularly urgent within the context of the growing criminalization of what are originally, or perceived to be, movements of political violence, and of the emergence and proliferation of modern warlordism and rampaging terrorism in many areas of persistent conflict. No democratic government, and no principled international polity, can rightly hand over entire populations to terrorist warlords through negotiated settlements on the false hope that such populations will receive justice and a guarantee of their dignity and freedoms under the successor regime. Moreover, those who feel no twinge of conscience at the mass murder of civilians can hardly be bound by the letter or spirit of a 'peace accord'. They are led by their ideologies and their ambitions and will follow the imperatives of power, pursued by dramatic acts of carnage, wherever this is expedient. Negotiated settlements with terrorists, except where movements have been crushed or have been subjected to extended attritional stalemates, have only contributed to further terrorist consolidation. Unfortunately, the international pressure and the inclination of governments to work out 'deals' with terrorists and warlords appear to be increasing in the desperation, simply, to 'settle with' the immediate and apparent cause of conflict. But, it has been noted elsewhere, in the context of Kashmir, that,

The notion of 'peace at all costs' is self-destructive, and negotiations based on false premises and projections, and on unrealistic or divergent assessments of realities on the ground, inevitably result in greater escalation - though they may produce a temporary and deceptive lull.16

A related area of advocacy is the contention that the principal response to terrorism must be ideological, rather than 'military'; that Islamist extremist interpretations of the Faith, Maoist doctrines and diverse ethnic fundamentalisms which inspire terrorism, must be whittled away by 'ideological contestation', rather than a direct assault against their violent adherents. This is another unexamined, but vastly popular banality. There is little in the historical record that could suggest any potential for success for such an approach. As Fareed Zakaria has noted in the context of Islamist terrorism,

Military victory is indeed essential. Radical political Islam is an 'armed doctrine,' in Edmund Burke's phrase. Like other armed doctrines before it - fascism, for example - it can be discredited only by first being defeated.17

In any event, what kind of ideological contestation could anyone conceive of with the Mullah in Swat who blows a man's brains out because he is wearing his salwar (trousers) cut below, and not (as God evidently ordained and all men should know) above, his ankles?18 Or with Maoists who systematically execute grassroot party workers of the ruling Communist Party of India - Marxist in West Bengal?19

It is not possible, here, to examine the full range of the pseudo-histories and false sociologies, and the extensive scope of the tyranny of political correctness that has obstructed rational assessments of, and policies in response to, terrorism. There is the irrational quest for a 'perfect definition' of terrorism; the ludicrous affectation of the claim that 'one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter'; the simulated and unprincipled discourse over demands for ethnic or communal separation, autonomy and 'self-determination' - ideological bullock-carts that are irreconcilable in a globalising world order that shares universal values of equality and human rights; and the perversion of democratic processes to further the power and interest of democracy's most unwavering enemies. It is clear that policy prescriptions based on abundantly falsified theoretical perspectives and mistaken popular beliefs contribute directly to terrorist butchery and to the persistence of movements of extremist violence. Indeed, these campaigns of deception have been so successful, that each administration that is confronted with the challenge of terrorism now appears to be programmed to start out from the 'default setting' of these perverse perspectives, rather than any realistic appraisal of the successes and failures of past CT-CI strategy and tactics. It is only when the sheer virulence of terrorism forces a greater rationality of responses, that these delusions are reluctantly discarded. However, when counter-terrorism successes result in some diminution in the intensity of violence, administrations often tend quickly to relapse into 'default mode' and resume talking about root causes, and inchoate developmental and political solutions, once again expanding spaces for terrorist consolidation.

2. Confusion Confounded

Conceptual confusion over the nature of terrorism and responses to terrorism is infinitely compounded by India's chronic historical amnesia, an enveloping lack of institutional memories, and the much-bemoaned lack of a 'strategic culture'. This afflicts much of the Indian security and policy establishment and its perspectives and understanding of the country's overwhelming wealth of experience - both of success and failure - in CT-CI campaigns. The first of India's insurgencies commenced soon after independence - in Nagaland in 1952 - and since then there has been a continuous succession of 'wars within borders', culminating in the multiplicity of contemporary conflicts that have now come to afflict, in various degrees, an estimated 300 of India's 626 districts.20 Astonishingly, the literature on these many internal wars remains minuscule; and strategic and tactical assessments of counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism campaigns, negligible. This is the case, not only of the open source, but also, by all accounts, of internal government documents and materials available to counter-insurgency practitioners and the Police, paramilitary and military leadership charged with the management of these many crises.

With no systematic effort to document and analyse the enormous cumulative experience of campaigns since Independence, Force commanders at all levels are virtually abandoned to their own devices, repeatedly required to reinvent the wheel, despite the fact that a long history of both successes and failures across theatres, as well as in the specific theatre of their current deployment, could yield a wealth of wisdom, of strategic and tactical best practices, and excellent counsel on the many pitfalls that can and must be avoided. These problems are further "aggravated by policies of task allocation and transfer that do not value continuity of experience. The result is that there is little opportunity for the development of long-term perspectives and a knowledge base that may help in an authoritative and informed assessment of emerging or ongoing emergencies."21

"A good and decent society", it has been remarked, "needs good politics. Good politics requires good theory. Good theory requires good methodology."22 The same dictum applies, without qualification, to good CT-CI policy, strategy and tactics. Bad theory and bad methodology yield bad practices, as Forces muddle along, learning slowly 'on the job'. Such practices impose tremendous costs in wasted resources, wasted efforts, but most significantly, wasted lives. And the index of 'wasted lives' cannot accurately be constructed out of data on fatalities or casualties in terrorist and insurgent conflicts; it must accommodate the millions of other lives that are fractured and destroyed by the lack of development, the loss of opportunities and employment, and the despair and desperation that widespread violence, intimidation and terror create.

Within the Indian system, regrettably, powerful obstacles have been gradually erected against the evolution of 'good theory and good methodology' in the spheres of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency policy, strategy and tactics. Academicians have been reluctant to 'soil their hands' with research in these troubling subjects, and the limited efforts in this direction have been deeply flawed.

…the academic community within the country has not committed itself in sufficient measure to the documentation and study of issues relating to terrorism and insurgency. To the extent that there has been some academic writing, it has chosen 'safe areas' - such as discourses on the definition of terrorism, the 'root causes' of terrorism, and the distinctions between terrorism and 'liberation struggles'; or politically correct 'meta-issues' - such as human rights and political violence - that do not demand engagement on the ground or unpleasant field research in the affected areas. Current scholarship appears to be insulated from the more demanding and crucial aspects of the conflicts, and from the areas of risk, while reductionism and an entirely doctrinaire approach dominates most such analyses.23

…The inability of academics to abandon the baggage of ideologies, of dominant paradigms and partisan affiliations, and to look clearly at the situation and at the facts and events as honestly and clearly as these can be construed, has severely undermined the relevance and impact of conflict research in India. The academic discourse has also been variously distorted (as has thinking in governance) by intellectual inertia, by passing fashions of thought, and by the tyranny of public opinion and media endorsement. There has been little effort or courage to challenge received wisdom or settled orthodoxies - except in the language or idiom of another such orthodoxy.24

… Even today, in the numerous theatres of ongoing terrorist violence in India, there is simply no empirical focus or academic feedback. There is, indeed, little effort even to draw from a synthesis of experiences of various administrators and counter-terrorism practitioners who have worked in these situations. Research, evidently and regrettably, is considered to be a remote option, if not an actual luxury.25

… Even today, in the numerous theatres of ongoing terrorist violence in India, there is simply no empirical focus or academic feedback. There is, indeed, little effort even to draw from a synthesis of experiences of various administrators and counter-terrorism practitioners who have worked in these situations. Research, evidently and regrettably, is considered to be a remote option, if not an actual luxury.

The Government and its various agencies, on the other hand, have failed to establish internal mechanisms and institutions to carry out these necessary tasks of documentation, analysis, assimilation and dissemination of counter-insurgency experience in various theatres. In passing, it is useful to note that several institutions with the requisite mandate do exist within Government. However, their state of health and the availability or profile of human and material resources for mandated tasks remains poor. More significantly, they enjoy little prestige within the official hierarchy, particularly in comparison with 'executive' posts and departments, and have generally had no more than marginal impact on official policy or practice.

In the absence of vigorous institutional instrumentalities to carry out these tasks, fitful efforts and an absence of focus tend to characterize the approach of executive agencies who may be tempted, from time to time, to take up such an undertaking. Specifically, the executive duties of these agencies themselves constitute a near-insurmountable obstacle to any systematic and adequate enterprise of documentation and analysis.

The sheer enormity and inescapable imperatives of the daily routine precludes a wide range of options for the bureaucracy. This is especially problematic in conflict-related departments - such as the Home Ministry and the law enforcement agencies - where a sense of continuous, immediate and iterative crises blocks out the possibility of developing a 'big picture' perspective; and even where this may exist, in translating it into effective policy and action.26

The criticality of concurrent documentation and field research in the theatres of strife, and at the time of the various campaigns, needs enormous emphasis in this context: "Bland statistics and banal secondary sources cannot replace the understanding that comes through engagement in field research at the time when the conflict is current."27

In the absence, then, of a coherent body of internal (official) or open source documentation and analysis, the national discourse on terrorism and insurgency has remained polarized and overwhelmingly moulded by political and partisan sympathies, rather than any information or understanding that reflects the realities of the ground. It has been muddied, moreover, by a polemical, rather than practical, obsession with the most extraordinarily obtuse dichotomies that have dominated the largely incestuous debate on insurgency and terrorism: 'law and order approaches' vs. 'addressing root causes'; 'military solution' vs. 'developmental solution'; 'criminals, extortionists and brigands' vs. 'our children', 'our brothers and sisters'; 'terrorists' vs. 'freedom fighters'. These conceptual opposites have done little to inform or shape constructive policy responses, but have imposed a near paralysis on the state's institutions, constraining the evolution of effective strategies to confront and neutralize the multiple threats of terrorism and insurgencies in India.

It is crucial to recognize that nations that fail to evolve effective warfighting capabilities - conventional or sub-conventional - are often found to be the very nations that have failed in the fundamental and essential task of studying history; or those that have perverted their study of history with dissimulation, falsehood or delusion. This is substantially the case with India's war against terrorism, where the invention of a range of pseudo-histories (terrorism in Punjab was defeated by 'the people' and not by counter-terrorist action by the Forces); of false sociologies ('root causes of terrorism'); and of pseudo-solutions (development, negotiations, autonomy, political accommodation of terrorists) has blinded the policy establishment to the imperatives of CT-CI strategy and tactics and, indeed, to the lessons of India's past counter-terrorism successes.

The net result is that a wide range of effective policy options has actually been shut out by prevailing dogmas and slogans that have come to dominate the ill-informed and diversionary national discourse on terrorism and counter-terrorism. But "awareness of the full range of options is a vital element in the development of any sound policy",28 and India has failed, despite decades of relentless terrorism directed against it, and exceptional experience in defeating terrorism in at least some theatres, to examine the 'full range of options' and, consequently, to evolve a coherent and effective perspective on, and strategy against, terrorism.

3. The Loss of Security

Decades of conceptual confusion and neglect have yielded a general and encompassing erosion - and in at least some extended regions, a collapse - of state capacities in the security sector, which have immensely encouraged disorders, extremism and violence. Cumulative infirmities in India's security sector have been immensely complicated by the continuous erosion of governance and administrative capacities; the degradation of grassroots politics and of cadre-based political organisation; the growth of inequalities and inequities, particularly in rural India; and a range of demographic factors, creating vast opportunities for extremist mobilisation. Naxalism, for instance, in its early phases, expanded principally into spaces that had essentially been vacated by governance. The restoration of the authority and functions of governance, including development, health, education and basic social and human security, is consequently imperative, and must constitute an integral part of any comprehensive approach to counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism.

It must, nevertheless, be recognized that this can only be done after the restoration of a modicum of law and order, and hitherto unavailable efficiency in the operation of the justice system. The essential axiom, here, is that you cannot develop what you do not control - and dominance is, therefore, the first objective of any effective strategy to neutralize the onslaught of violent anti-state movements.

The magnitude of the problem has now become so great that there is no possibility of dealing with it by mere tinkering or incremental augmentations and reforms - which appear to be the principal patterns of response at the national level, as well as in most States. The Group of Ministers' (GoM) Report on National Security, in February 2001, clearly noted that constitutional, legal and structural infirmities had "eroded the Union Government's authority to deal effectively with any threat to the nation's security", and called for "appropriate restructuring of the MHA".29 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly emphasized the enormity of the crisis and, as far back as in June 2004, promised a "comprehensive approach" which would "create greater synergy between our intelligence agencies, closer coordination between internal security structures".30 Till the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, little of this had been translated into action. Post-26/11, there has been a flurry of activity. However, many of the most visible initiatives have, at best, been purely symbolic, while others have been no more than incremental. The combined impact of all such initiatives does not secure even a fraction of the critical mass that would be necessary to engineer an effective and efficient response to the terrorist and insurgent threats currently confronting the nation.31

One of the major elements of the crisis is the country's extraordinarily poor capacities across the security spectrum. It is useful to look at some of the data in this regard:

Policing: There is a general policing deficit at all ranks, both in absolute numbers of sanctioned posts and in the numbers of vacancies that exist against such sanctioned posts.

  • Leadership

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs Annual Report for 2007-08, there is an over 16 per cent deficiency in numbers of IPS Officers in position as against sanctioned strengths:

Sample States

Sanctioned Strength
in Position
Percent Deficit









Jammu & Kashmir


This data may, indeed, understate the magnitude of the crisis in some crucial instances. Orissa, for instance, currently among the States facing an acute Maoist challenge, has a total of 207 sanctioned posts in IPS ranks; there are presently just 84 officers in place.32 Sanctioned strength - approved years, if not decades ago - is deficient in most States, as against augmenting requirements.

  • Police Population Ratios (per 100,000 population)

According to norms set by the United Nations, a minimum Police to population ratio of 1:450 should be maintained for 'peacetime policing'. This works out to a ratio of 222 Police personnel per 100,000 population. Most Western countries maintain ratios well above this minimum standard, and, for instance, the ratio is as high as 559 per 100,000 in Italy and 465 per 100,000 in Portugal. Significantly, most of these countries have policing needs that are certainly less demanding or extreme as compared to those confronting India, where the culture of the rule of law is far from entrenched and virtually all compliance needs enforcement. Yet, India's Police to population ratio stands at a bare 125/100,000, and conditions in the States and areas most afflicted by disorders are often much worse:


All India average:








South Africa
UN Recommended Ratio
  • Police Area Ratios

There is no standard norm for a minimal Police-area ratio, and wide variations are possible here in view of demographic, geographical, political and administrative considerations. Nevertheless, an internal comparison reveals some interesting features:

All India average

45 / 100 sq km


3,953 / 100 sq km


208/ 100 sq km


142 / 100 sq km


112 / 100 sq km
59 / 100 sq km

Thus, some of the States worst afflicted by Maoist violence have the worst Police-area ratios. Crucially, despite significant funding from the centre to the States underwriting Police modernisation, security-related expenditures and augmentation of capacities, a substantial proportion of these funds are unspent or misspent each year.

The challenges to policing cannot, however, be reduced to these quantitative indices alone. The quality of policing and the integrity of the institutional structures underlying Police administration have long been an issue of contention. For decades, proposals for Police reforms have been kept in abeyance, despite the urgent recommendations of numberless National and State Police Commissions, and notwithstanding the eventual intervention of the Supreme Court in September 2006, with a seven-point directive to immediately secure compliance on a small set of these recommendations. A comprehensive transformation of Indian Police Forces into a modern, democratic Force would require the implementation of a wide range of these reforms as well as a comprehensive institutional reinvention, to equip them for contemporary and evolving challenges, including, particularly, terrorism, insurgency, and sub-conventional warfare, including emerging patterns sometimes described as 5th Generation Warfare.33

Urgent containment initiatives also need to be launched in the immediate future, and the first stage of such a response relates to a more efficient mobilisation of existing capacities. Immediate steps can be taken to operationalise, retrain and reorient the maximum proportion of available Police and intelligence resources, which are currently deployed on fairly wasteful patterns. Major initiatives are also possible to tap civilian resources and populations for surveillance, information-generation and intelligence. The rapid acquisition and augmentation of technical and technological force multipliers can also help enhance the efficiency of responses in the near term.

Military capacities

  • India, rightly, takes great pride in its Armed Forces, boasting of the 'second largest Army in the world'. At about 1.4 million, the current strength of the armed forces appears large in absolute terms. The reality, however, is that this strength is utterly inadequate in terms of the country's population, territory and strategic projections as an 'emerging global power'. India's ratio of Active Duty Uniformed Troops to population works out to about 1:866. China's ratio is 1:591; UK - 1:295; Pakistan - 1:279; USA - 1:187. Again, the Indian Armed Forces' technological and resource capabilities compare adversely to those of the modernized Western powers, and the Army is way overstretched in conventional defence and counter-insurgency deployments. Critically, there is an acute and mounting crisis in leadership cadres. The Army is short of 11,387 officers, against a current authorized strength of 46,615 (24.43 per cent deficit). The Navy is 1,512 officers short of its sanction of 8,797 (deficit: 17.2 per cent). The Air Force needs 1,400 officers to meet its sanction of 12,128 (deficit: 11.5 per cent). During the last five years, 4,300 officers of the Army, 1,177 officers of the Air Force and 1,096 officers of the Navy have chosen to seek premature retirement or have resigned from the service. Despite a significant dilution of standards over the years, the Armed Forces are finding it impossible to recruit sufficiently even to maintain currently sanctioned strengths among officers.

  • Country

    Active Duty Uniformed Troop Strength35









    As internal security crises multiply, this will become crucial. India's capacity to deal with emergent insurgencies and disorders, in the past, has relied on the reserve capacity of Central Paramilitary Forces and the Army, which allows a rapid redeployment of Forces to tackle any abrupt crisis. However, with a continuous expansion of the theatres of violence and the consolidation of the 'protracted war' model of conflict, these reserve capacities are already under severe strain, and there is little residual 'surplus' now. The augmentation of permanent capacities to deal with any and all projected internal and external security threats is, consequently, an imperative, if the nation's future is to be secured in a planned and ordered trajectory.

Intelligence: The Kargil crisis had revealed glaring gaps in India's intelligence capacities and establishments and, nearly a decade later, the Mumbai 26/11 attacks demonstrated that little had been achieved in terms of addressing these. The problem in India relates both to inadequate capacities to generate intelligence and to the utilisation and integration of a multiplicity of intelligence flows. Even within a single agency structure, the loss of operational intelligence in the complex network that exists between the field and the decision-making layers is enormous, and has often proven disastrous. The Kargil Committee Report had commented strongly on this 'loss' of field intelligence, and the calamitous impact it had on national security. The report called on India's intelligence establishment to take "an honest and in-depth stock of their present intelligence effort and capabilities to meet challenges and problems" and asked for a massive upgrading of technical, imaging, signal, electronic counter-intelligence and economic intelligence capabilities, and a system-wide reform of conventional human-intelligence gathering.

Every suggestion in the Report was accepted by the Group of Ministers, who released their recommendations in February 2001. Nevertheless, the recommendations of the Report remained unimplemented, beyond a few symbolic changes, till 26/11, and cumulative deficits, backlogs and structural impediments have resulted in limited impact of sanctions approved thereafter. One of the recommendations called for a 'multi-agency set-up' to confront the challenges of terrorism, and this was, at least formally, implemented through the creation of two new wings under the IB: the Multi Agency Centre (MAC) and the Joint Task Force on Intelligence (JTFI). MAC was charged with collecting and coordinating terrorism-related information from across the country; the JTFI is responsible for passing on this information to the State Governments in real-time. For years, both MAC and JTFI remained under-staffed, under-equipped and ineffective, with even basic issues relating to their administration unsettled. Some of these issues have now received attention at the highest levels, but the principal objective, the creation of a national terrorism intelligence network and database, is yet far from realisation.

Another critical aspect of existing intelligence gathering operations in India - one that constitutes both a strength and weakness - is that these continue to rely overwhelmingly on HUMINT, with the TECHINT component in urgent and drastic need for improvement. Difficulties of integration of intelligence, of professionalism, autonomy and, crucially, of modernization are acute and in many areas, the gap between capacities and needs is growing. Of course, even the best technical intelligence capabilities and comparatively limitless resources were not enough to prevent 9/11 in the US. Nevertheless, it remains the case that India's intelligence penetration is severely inadequate, and is overwhelmingly limited to a thin coverage of urban areas and strategic locations, leaving vast hinterlands 'uncovered'. After the September 2008 attacks in Delhi and the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, the Union Home Ministry did announce a series of measure, including modernisation plans for the IB and a sanction of an additional 6,000 personnel in the organisation. Actual recruitment has been a fraction of this number.

The problem is compounded by the fact that India has no integrated apparatus for financial intelligence and enforcement. There are, for instance, as many as 15 central agencies variously charged with gathering financial intelligence, with or without an enforcement responsibility, and a large number of other organisations charged with the task of collection, collation and analysis of financial data, with little coordination between them. Terrorist finance is a critical element of the operational capabilities and survival of terrorist organizations, and is interwoven into the global financial underground as well as the complex black economy in India. Terrorists constantly reinvent their modus operandi to protect their funding networks, making it difficult to keep up with the task of interdiction. The absence of transparency across the market; a seamless blending of corporate and criminal cultures; a permissive operating environment; and the diffusion of function and responsibility among the multiplicity of enforcement agencies, make it nigh impossible to effectively contain or neutralize the complex networks of illegal financial traffic in India. Crucially, terrorist finance cannot be contained unless all illegal financial operations are disabled. It may be noted in this context that the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), the Moily Commission, had strongly counselled a crackdown on terrorist financing, and had made recommendations to bring about a greater transparency and accountability to all financial operations. These recommendations are still to be implemented. Unless India's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism legislation is brought in line with international standards imposed by various conventions, including the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regime, disrupting terrorist funding networks in India will remain episodic at best.36 As noted elsewhere,

Within the Indian context, tackling the problem of terrorist finance is compounded infinitely by the intertwining of terrorist and organised criminal financial operations with the underbelly of otherwise legitimate commercial and financial activities. The reality is that an overwhelming proportion of organised crime and underground (including terrorist) financial operations, today, are not predatory but collusive - based on a continuing and symbiotic relationship of acquiescence between criminal enterprises on the one hand and, on the other, government agencies and officials, as well as enterprises whose primary businesses lie within the ambit of the law. It is the vast black economy in India that provides the context of the movement of funds by terrorists as well. Hawala networks are not only used by terrorists, drug-traffickers, arms smugglers and other criminals, but also by corrupt businessmen, bureaucrats and politicians, as well as by expatriate workers transferring monies to their families at home.37


The security apparatus alone is not relevant to CI-CT objectives. While temporal priority must be given to security objectives, the reality remains that, without the delivery of a modicum of civil governance and across the country, no enduring gains can be recorded. Security responses, moreover, are themselves enormously dependent on the general efficiency of governance and of the policy establishment, as most critical decisions remain vested in authorities outside the security establishment. Wider societal capabilities also have critical implications for security and stability - especially where it is clearly recognized that CI-CT responses must comprehend much more than the security dimension.

The disturbing reality, however, is that basic capacities for governance, enterprise and social action in India, have been allowed to decline to such an extent that the most rudimentary tasks of nation-building, indeed, even of administrative maintenance, cannot be executed with a minimal efficiency. Ironically, this has happened over decades of a public and media discourse about 'bloated government', 'gigantic expenditure on the bureaucracy', the need to 'downsize government', and other politically correct slogans based on extraordinary ignorance of fact. A look at the most rudimentary statistics may help pull some heads out of the sand.38 Every governmental institution in the country has, in reality, been hollowed out by political incompetence and ignorance. A look at the 'bloated bureaucracy' is particularly instructive.

The embedded principal in American democracy is that "the best government is the least government". Consequently, the state focuses as exclusively as possible on what are considered 'core functions' and minimizes engagement in welfare and in activities that can be taken over by the private sector. The administrative philosophy in India is the exact opposite, with the Government's fingers planted firmly in every possible pie.

That is why the ratio of Government employees to population in the two countries is the more astonishing: the US Federal Government has a ratio of 889 employees per 100,000. Canada, which has a larger welfare component in governance as compared to the US, has a ratio of 1,408 Federal Government employees per 100,000. India's Union Government has just 295 per 100,000.

The Railways - no doubt extraordinarily useful, but hardly within the sphere of 'core functions' of government - account for the largest proportion of Central Government employees in India: 1,398,139 out of the total of 3,320,842 - all of 42.1 per cent. If just Railway employees were to be excluded from the strength of Central Government Employees, this would leave us with a ratio of just 171 Central Government employees per 100,000. Needless to say, the Railways are not the only 'non-core' establishment under the Central Government. Significantly, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), including all Central Police organizations and Paramilitary Forces, accounts for just 834,090, less than 60 per cent of the strength of Central Government employees in the Railways (all figures estimated as on March 1, 2009).

Moving on to State and Local Government employees, we find that, in the US, these account for another 6,314 per 100,000; in sharp contrast, Uttar Pradesh has 352; Bihar, 472; Orissa, 1,007; Chhattisgarh, 1,067; Maharashtra, 1,223; Punjab, 1,383; Gujarat, 1,694. Worse, in India, the overwhelming proportion of Government employees is in the lower cadres, class III and IV, as against the 'thinking' element of the state in higher echelons. Even in the latter category, qualitative profiles, including modern and administrative skills, training and technological competence are severely limited.

Nagaland, however, boasts of figures that humble the US dedication to administrative efficiency: 16,085 State Government employees per 100,000 population. There is, however, little evidence of 'administrative efficiency' - indeed, of administration - in Nagaland. Numbers alone are, obviously, not the entire problem. But they are certainly a major part of the problem.

Given the magnitude of delays that mar the judicial process, it is not surprising to find that this institution is as badly off in terms of human assets. India has about 1.2 judges per 100,000 population. The Law Commission, in its 120th report, recommended a much-augmented ratio of 5 judges per 100,000 - a more than fourfold increase. But even this projected ratio would compare adversely with most countries that could be categorized as reasonably administered. Thus, USA has nearly 11 judges per 100,000 population; Sweden: 13; China: 17; and, at the top of the scale, Belgium: 23; Germany: 25; and Slovenia: 39!

The obvious 'solution', theoretically, would be to initiate massive recruitment to fill up these deficits. Government revenues have grown tremendously over the past decades, and this seems feasible. But it is here that the system hits a wall. Forget the lack of political will, corruption, bureaucratic delays, interminable selection processes, the absence of training capacities; India has an abysmal nine percent higher education participation rate, lower than the average for Africa, at 10 percent. Most Western states have higher education participation rates ranging between 35 and 70 per cent, and many are still experiencing huge shortages of qualified manpower - hence India's 'outsourcing' boom.

One study in 2005 determined that India would experience a shortfall of nearly half a million qualified workers by 2010.39 S.S. Mehta of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) observes:

Only 234 million of India's 411 million young people enter school at all… Less than 20 per cent reach high school, and less than 10 per cent enter college. Only 50 million of India's 1.1 billion people - less than five per cent of the total population - have degrees past high school.40

An overwhelming majority of technical and university graduates, moreover, come out of third rate institutions and are, in fact, unemployable - lacking even basic language and reasoning skills. A recent NASSCOM study noted that, even after retraining, only about 25 per cent of technical graduates and 10-15 per cent of general college graduates were suitable for employment in the offshore IT and BPO industries.41

The reality is, for all our boasting about the 'youth bulge', India simply does not have the manpower profile to fuel a modern nation - and it will take decades before suitable profiles can be generated to meet the demands of modern governance, commerce and society. An Aspen Institute Study notes that the Indian middle class rose from about 10 million in 1991 to about 100 million in 2005. The gain is tremendous; the absolute number seems large. Crucially, however, on this count, the middle class still accounts for under 10 per cent of the total population!

The National Knowledge Commission has projected a requirement of 1,500 universities in India by 2015, as against just 350 universities today. Yet, when the Prime Minister announced the setting up of 20 new Indian Institutes of Technology, most experts felt that the teaching cadres required to man these new institutions could simply not be found without a radical dilution of standards.

India is a nation overwhelmingly of the uneducated and unskilled, who have no productive utility in a modernizing-globalizing economy. These are Marx's 'useless people', in a world of enveloping technological advancement. The situation promises only to get much worse. By 2020, India will add 330 million people - roughly two Pakistans - to its 2001 population of 1.04 billion. The largest proportion of this increase will be in the most backward States of the country, taking up their share in national population from 40 per cent to 50 per cent.

Within the context of this tremendous and augmenting challenge, popular slogans of 'good governance', 'people's empowerment', 'civil society', 'decentralisation', 'accountability', 'depoliticization', 'Police and administrative reforms' - are all such scandalous nonsense. Unless Governments can secure the critical mass of qualified and efficient personnel to effectively meet the requirements of a modern administrative and security apparatus, the country's problems can only worsen. There is, unfortunately, little evidence even of a modicum of attention being paid to this increasingly unmanageable problem.

Successive Governments in India have reduced systems to a level of intractable dysfunction that can only be breached if radical action to dramatically raise capacity generation - or, more fundamentally, to create capacities for capacity generation through dramatic improvements and extension of the country's educational infrastructure - is undertaken on a war footing. Unfortunately, mired in privilege and impunity, India's politics and administration remains incapable of going beyond incrementalism and precedent.

4. Some Principles

The history of terrorism and insurgency is long - these have been among the most significant forms of armed conflict since the creation of organized political communities42 and have graduated to the status of the principal form of conflict in the 20th and 21st Century. History would, consequently, have powerful lessons for contemporary CT-CI practitioners in India. Such lessons can, however, only be indicative and not prescriptive. No theoretical canon derived from the experience of other theatres or from history can address the teeming specifics of a local conflict and Clausewitz rightly notes that, in war, "Theory must be of the nature of observation, not of doctrine."43 Such 'observation' has the potential to guide action in constructive directions, significantly reducing the 'learning curve' in particular theatres, and hence the costs in lives and materials. Such 'theory' also provides a context for evaluation of prevailing counter-insurgency perspectives and strategies, to determine the extent to which these have relied upon principles emphasized in past campaigns, and the measure in which they have deviated from or innovated beyond such standards.

It is neither possible, nor the intent, here, to offer any exhaustive survey of the literature on CT-CI, or of the theoretical perspectives that have evolved over the ages. What is intended is a brief and selective outline of the perspectives and principals that have urgent bearing on contemporary orientations and, particularly, on the dynamics of the CT-CI campaigns in India.

It is useful to note in passing that, despite the long history of insurrections and insurgencies, irregular, guerrilla or terrorist warfare was seldom treated in detail by classical war theorists. Clausewitz was among the first to recognize the potential of the 'people's war' or 'insurrectionary war', but generally inclined to the opinion that this could constitute a significant element of a strategic defence, but would not be decisive in warfare. Mao Tse Tung's notion of protracted people's war and its tremendous success in the Chinese Revolution, and a string of major guerrilla wars and successes in the Twentieth Century have certainly established the decisive potential of this method of warfare, and underlined the enormous seriousness with which the subject of counter-insurgency needs to be approached by the state.

"Prior to the twentieth century," Ian F.W. Beckett notes, "guerrilla warfare was generally understood as a purely military form of conflict."44 This notion has undergone steady transformation, as the complexity and sheer variability of patterns of irregular warfare and the vast network of activities that support it have come to be better understood. In the context of his 'people's war', Mao thus noted, "Revolutionary warfare is never confined within the bounds of military action. Because its purpose is to destroy an existing society and its institutions and to replace them with a completely new structure, any revolutionary war is a unity of which the constituent parts, in varying importance are military, political, economic, social and psychological."45 An application of precisely this principle to CT-CI is the cornerstone of any successful campaign. CT-CI requires the use of force - and hence 'military' or 'Police' action - but can never be exhausted by this, or be entirely successful, unless it accommodates the 'political, economic, social and psychological' dimensions of conflict as well.

The Police-led model of CT-CI evolved substantially from British experience and doctrine, though it did not go uncontested even in British theory and practice. Significantly, moreover, British practice was often more sanguinary than sagacious, but it remains the case that, historically, British theory and policy has inclined more in favour of a minimal or condign use of force, rather than the overwhelming use of force emphasised in classical military doctrine, which tended, for instance, to influence much of American CT-CI theory and practice.46 The British approach also emphasised "small-scale instead of large-scale operations; the soldier rather than the system; and small casualties and easy victories instead of prolonged fighting and heavy losses."47 Flexibility and continuous adaptability of responses was also integral to the British approach, and these elements were derived from the country's long history of insurrections in its Age of Empire. John Pimlott thus remarks,

…the wide range of threats to imperial rule and the different geographical conditions encountered, produced a constant need to adapt responses to fit local circumstances and avoided the development of a stereotyped theory of policing.48

Among the most eloquent advocates of this nuanced approach to counter-insurgency, Robert Thomson, who had extensive experience in Malaya and subsequently led the British Advisory Mission to South Vietnam, emphasized that the remedy to an insurgency "should be clinical rather than surgical" and involved the "establishment of a static security framework… into which can be incorporated a single security intelligence organization for the direction and coordination of all intelligence activities…"49 He notes, further and crucially,

If the main emphasis is placed merely on killing terrorists, there is a grave risk that more Communists will be created than are killed. Winning the people must, therefore, be kept in the forefront of the minds of every single person, whether military or civilian, who is engaged in anti-terrorist operations.50

This is crucial. Both security and legitimacy lie at the heart of counter-insurgency doctrine, and the annihilation or defeat of the insurgent, or the physical domination of territory, cannot be ends in themselves. Thus, "Counterinsurgency requires a balanced approach for mobilizing and developing the threatened society, securing the population and resources, and neutralizing the insurgents."51

Within the complex set of policies and programmes to secure these multiple objectives, ensuring security is the first imperative. Absent the paraphernalia for effective security, all other objectives become unattainable. The simple answer to the false dichotomy of 'security vs. development' as a CT-CI response is that you cannot develop areas that you do not control. It is significant to note, further, within this context:

Since the function of political authorities centres on protecting people and controlling the policy-making process, those authorities who fail in these tasks lose their legitimacy as authorities. The more failures, the more their power deflates.52

In his classic, Defeating Communist Insurgency: Experience from Malaya and Vietnam, Thompson defines certain 'basic principles of counter insurgency', where he emphasizes, first, that the government should "attempt to defeat an insurgent movement during the subversive build-up phase before it enters the guerilla phase" and, second that "anyone having responsibility for dealing with an insurgent movement must know his enemy and what that enemy is attempting to do at all stages" in order to retain control over the initiative and not be reduced to a reactive mode.53 Intelligence, consequently, is seen as the core of a successful CI-CT campaign. Thompson also emphasises the classical operational trinity: clear, hold, win.

The government's forces should… be so deployed as to make it impossible for the insurgent forces to reconcentrate within the area or to reinfiltrate from outside. 'Clear' operations will… be a waste of time unless the government is ready to follow them up immediately with 'hold' operations. If there is no follow-up, then the clear operation will develop into no more than a general sweep through the area, which, when the government forces withdraw, will revert to its original state.54

With these objectives in mind, Thompson defines five basic principles:

First principle. The government must have a clear political aim…

Second principle. The government must function in accordance with law…

Third principle. The government must have an overall plan…

Fourth principle. The government must give priority to defeating the political subversion, not the guerrillas…

Fifth principle. In the guerrilla phase of an insurgency, a government must secure its base areas first…55

Another critical parameter of the counter-insurgency campaign that Thompson underlines is:

In an insurgency it is not the major operations that defeat the insurgents. It is a high rate of contact in minor operations, based on good intelligence and resulting perhaps in only one or two kills to each contact. These soon add up… Good intelligence leads to more frequent and more rapid contacts. More contacts lead to more kills. These in turn lead to greater confidence in the population, resulting in better intelligence and still more contacts and kills. That… is why you should first worry about intelligence.56 (Emphases added).

Even where Thompson's emphasis on a Police-led response is disputed - as it so remains in much of American CT-CI doctrine, as well as in some streams of British theory - most of these principals have now been internalized in the CT-CI discourse. Thus, despite their continued reliance on overwhelming force in Iraq and Afghanistan, US counter-insurgency doctrine now increasingly stresses,

Political power is the central issue in insurgencies and counter-insurgencies; each side aims to get the people to accept its governance or authority as legitimate… COIN (counter-insurgency) thus involves the application of national power in the political, military, economic, social, information, and infrastructure fields and disciplines.57

The US Army's current Counterinsurgency Field Manual thus emphasises:

  • Legitimacy is the main objective.

  • Unity of effort (integration of civilian and military activities) is essential

  • Political Factors are Primary

  • Counterinsurgents must understand the environment

  • Intelligence drives operations

  • Insurgents must be isolated from their cause and support

  • Security under Rule of Law is essential

  • Counterinsurgency should prepare for a long-term commitment58

The Field Manual further emphasises the use of "appropriate level of force", as against overwhelming force, in counterinsurgency59, and that, "Sometimes, the more force is used, the less effective it is."60

These broad principles, however, can at best offer guidelines for framing or evaluating CT-CI responses in a particular local context. The principal challenge for the counterinsurgency practitioner is to adapt and transform continuously while in contact with the enemy. As Helmuth Karl von Moltke rightly noted, "In War, as in art, we find no universal forms; in neither can a rule take the place of talent."61 CT-CI campaigns demand the classical military virtues of endurance, projection, mobility and dominance, but require a far more nuanced execution that accommodates politics, economics, perception and population management, among other factors, as well, and the "forces that successfully defeat insurgencies are usually those able to overcome their institutional inclination to wage conventional war against insurgents"62. Further, and crucially, "In COIN, the side that learns faster and adapts more rapidly… usually wins."63

5. Three Victories, One Paradigm

It is not possible, here, to examine the long history of India's own counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency experience in the many theatres where such conflicts have been manifested since Independence. Such experience has been enormously varied, reflecting, at different times and places, some of the best and the worst possible paradigms of response. Campaigns have also reflected extreme mid-course swings, most frequently as a result of political changes, and occasionally of leadership changes in the security apparatus, but seldom the consequence of a comprehensive strategic reappraisal, consistently held over time.

Despite this uncertain scenario, it is possible, over just the past decades, to discover three exemplary and decisive successes within the Indian experience: Punjab, Tripura and Andhra Pradesh. Extraordinary CT-CI campaigns took each of these States from the very edge of the abyss to situations of complete state dominance. There were, of course, wide variations across each of these theatres in the nature of terrorism-insurgency, the geographical and cultural context, the political environment, and a wide range of social, economic and political indices. While, again, a detailed history of terrorism and response in each of these theatres cannot be attempted here, it is useful to outline the experience in these three widely dissimilar theatres and the tremendous strategic and tactical continuity that fashioned these eventual victories.

The movement for Khalistan in Punjab commenced with a great deal of collusive political mischief and sporadic acts of violence in 1978, and augmented gradually thereafter, to peak, with as many as 5,265 fatalities, in 1991 alone.64 A succession of security debacles, including the disastrous Operation Blue Star, which alienated large sections of the Sikh community, the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the anti-Sikh pogrom that followed, brought Punjab to the very edge of separation through a movement enthusiastically supported from across the border by Pakistan. Between 1981 and 1993 a total of 21,443 persons had been killed, including, 11,699 civilians, 1,746 SF personnel and 8,003 terrorists. By 1993, however, the "armies of Khalistan" had been comprehensively defeated by an extraordinary Police-led campaign headed by K.P.S. Gill, and there was "no more than a tattered rump of survivors left, most of them skulking in Pakistan."65

The tiny Northeastern State of Tripura (2001 population: 3.2 million) had suffered from sporadic insurgencies between 1948-51 and 1967-68, and from continuous troubles since 1978. The source of troubles in the State lay in complex patterns of sustained demographic displacement of the indigenous tribal population, the developmental marginalisation of tribal communities, and the extremely difficult terrain of the State (over 67 per cent of the State's territory is under dense forest cover). Crucially, militancy in Tripura found active support and safe haven in Bangladesh, with which the State shares as much as 84 per cent of its total borders, and was largely thought of as being 'insoluble', since, as Chief Minister Manik Sarkar expressed it on June 18, 2003, "Militancy in Tripura is more of an external than internal affair."66 Within three years of this declaration, however, the militant groups had been decimated and the insurgency virtually ended under the exceptional command of the State's Director General of Police, G.M. Srivastava. At its peak in year 2000, Tripura accounted for as many as 514 fatalities. Between 1997 and 2004, the State witnessed 2,278 insurgency related fatalities. By 2005, fatalities were down in double digits, at 73, to fall further to 60 (including 30 militants) in 2006, 36 (including 21 terrorists) in 2007, and 27 (including 16 terrorists) in 2008. 2009 witnessed 11 insurgency-related fatalities (including 1 terrorist and 9 civilians, till December 14).67

AP has been a dominant locus of Left Wing Extremism (LWE, Naxalism or Maoism), for decades, well before the original 'Naxalite' movement was sparked in 1967 at Naxalbari in West Bengal. It has, furthermore, been the principal source of the resurgence of the movement since the late 1970s, particularly after the formation of the Peoples War Group (PWG) in 1980. Crucially, it has been, and remains, the wellspring of ideological, strategic and tactical leadership of the movement since then, so much so that the Telengana region, the Naxalite 'heartland' in northern Andhra, had become near-synonymous with the influence of the rebels. In the late 1990s, the PWG had ranged out of its North Telengana heartland to execute an ambitious strategy of expansion across the entire State - and across State borders, into the neighbouring States of Orissa and (then) Madhya Pradesh. By 2004, every one of AP's 23 Districts was afflicted by Maoist activities, with 12 Districts falling into the 'highly affected' category, seven 'moderately affected' and the remaining four 'marginally affected'. The State, with occasional politically engineered variations - as in the disastrous 'peace talks' of 2004 - had long accounted for a bulk of all LWE-related fatalities (civilian, security forces and LWE cadres). As recently as 2006, the State accounted for 147 of a total of 463 (31.75 per cent) LWE-related fatalities in the country; in 2005, this number was 320 of 717 (44.63 per cent). The numbers were often much worse in earlier years, with 508 fatalities in the State in 1998, and 483 in 1992, the worst years on record for LWE violence in AP. These numbers dropped to just 73 out of 650 in year 2007, and 66 out of 638 in 2008. Of a total of 960 LWE related fatalities in 2009 (till December 14), AP accounted for just 26. CPI-Maoist Central Committee documents recovered by the Police in July-August 2007 conceded that the party had been forced into a 'tactical retreat' in Andhra Pradesh, with a "gradual decline of the movement finally resulting in a temporary setback in the State as a whole."68 At the core of the turnaround was a sustained reorientation of the AP Police under a succession of outstanding commanders, creating the capacities necessary to tackle the Maoists, in their most established strongholds, on terms progressively defined by the State.

It is not possible, here, to review the operational details of each of the widely divergent campaigns that secured these three dramatic successes. Crucially, however, despite large variations in context and tactics, fundamental strategic continuities marked each campaign, with Tripura and Andhra Pradesh clearly following principles that were applied and evolved in Punjab. The component principles of the broad approach that marked all three campaigns included the following:

  • Crystallization of Political Will and Mandate: Vacillation and a policy of drift is the default setting of the Indian establishment when confronted with each new crisis - and it is a setting that has persisted, in many theatres, for decades at end. Each CT-CI success, however, has been preceded by an abrupt - even if transient - refocusing of political resolve and the communication of a clear set of objectives and necessary mandate to the security leadership. Absent such clarity and commitment, SFs may win numberless battles against terrorists and insurgents, but have no capacity to win the war.

  • Leadership has historically been one of the principal determinants of the outcome of war, and the CT-CI campaigns in Punjab, Tripura and AP were no exception. The trajectory of counterinsurgency responses was, consequently, closely linked to the transfer of the baton of command, and, in substantial measure, reflected the vision, the dynamism and the motivation, particularly, of the incumbent in the office of Director General of Police. During the decisive period of the counterinsurgency campaigns, the top Police leadership in these States established a model of leadership from the front, extensively touring areas of insurgent dominance, and inspiring the rank and file of the Forces by example.

  • Police-led response: Police primacy was the template within which all force dispositions took place in each of these theatres, and final responsibility for maintenance of peace and order was vested in the SP of the District. The Army, where deployed (the Army has no role in the anti-Maoist campaigns in AP or elsewhere), operated within strategies jointly evolved with the Police command, supporting the Police who performed, the principal counter-terrorism tasks.

  • Capacity creation: the core of the response was the creation and strategic deployment of sufficient capacities - the 'conditions of victory' - that were necessary to deal with the challenge. Vast augmentations of Police strength in Punjab and Tripura (though not in AP), and of Police capabilities, through training, equipment, weaponry, mobility, fortification of Police Stations and Posts and, crucially, orientation, gave the SFs the cutting edge over the insurgent and terrorist forces.

  • Intelligence led operations: Tremendous emphasis on creating effective structures of intelligence gathering and real-time dissemination to response units was the hallmark of each campaign, and is indispensable in any CT-CI war.

  • Inter-force Coordination: civil, armed and intelligence wings of the Police operated in close coordination with CPMFs and the Army.

  • Surge mechanisms were established for augmentation of Police capacities across the affected areas, ensuring that an emerging deficit was quickly met to ensure overwhelming response to any terrorist challenge.

  • Deployment was designed across interlocking layers or grids of general and mission-specific forces, reinforcing existing and heavily reinforced structures of civil policing.

  • A progressive transition from defensive to offensive operations was engineered as SF capacities augmented.

  • Both Punjab and Tripura had a major problem with infiltration of terrorists and insurgents across the borders, respectively, with Pakistan and Bangladesh. Both states fenced off their borders with their hostile neighbour, and evolved effective measures for border management, including additional deployment of Forces and the creation of village resistance parties (VRPs) in vulnerable areas, successfully blocking off the movement of infiltrators and generating improved intelligence flows to the Forces.

  • Counter-insurgency was recognized as a "small commanders' war". Consequently, enabling the first responders was the objective of the SF leadership. It was clearly acknowledged that effective CT-CI campaigns were not amenable to centralized command.

  • The cumulative impact of these various measures rapidly translated into campaigns based on the classic strategic virtues of endurance, projection, mobility and dominance. The core operational impact was:

    • Aggressive intelligence-led operations in terrorist and insurgent 'heartland' areas.

    • Permanent penetration of insurgency and terrorism affected areas, and the elimination of all 'safe havens'.

    • Area and night domination exercises and aggressive patrolling by Police, CPMFs and (where deployed) Army units, in coordinated campaigns.

    • Securing of the most threatened highways and arterial roads through Road Opening Parties (ROPs) and mobile escorts.

    • Dedicated security cover to all major security and development projects and large commercial organizations, choking avenues of extortion.

    • Deepening of intelligence reserves and use of surrendered militants as spotters to identify insurgents and collaborators.69 At the same time, the militant intelligence and support network was systematically dismantled.

If the core lessons of these campaigns are to be applied with success to other theatres, the very paradigm of an 'emergency responses' approach to terrorism and internal security crises must be rejected. CT-CI campaigns are principally protracted conflicts. A tremendous effort of basic capacity building has to precede any attempts to deal effectively and proactively with existing and emerging challenges in this context.

The underpinnings of any such fundamental effort of reconstruction must be a clear and utterly unambiguous statement of a policy perspective on terrorism and insurgency. As stated at the outset, current establishment assessments and understanding of terrorism and insurgency are riddled with internal contradictions, which yield incongruous, wasteful and conflicting policy impulses. Unless there is greater conceptual clarity on the 'nature of the beast', there is little possibility of coherence and efficiency in responses.

Only clear political perspectives and mandates can create the necessary foundations for the development of institutional mechanisms for the coordinated execution of counterterrorism efforts, initiatives and policies. The institutional apparatus of governance must be equipped to engage in the continuous assessment and analysis of existing and emerging threats; to co-ordinate flows and maximise utilisation of available intelligence and resources from a multiplicity of agencies; to continuously define policies and protocols for response to each new area or pattern of terrorist activity; and to ensure that these are translated into action by the appropriate division and department of Government.

This apparatus must also be backed with a suitable legal mandate and necessary legislation for effective counterterrorism action. Mere legislation, however, will prove ineffective, if not meaningless, within the current and degraded justice system in India, where policing, investigative, prosecuting and judicial agencies lack even minimal means and capacities to execute their responsibilities; where witnesses are routinely intimidated and eliminated in the absence of any effective witness protection regime; and where the judicial processes routinely take decades to arrive at a determination - a time frame that is entirely irrelevant within a CT-CI calculus.

CT-CI is a "small commander's war". The role of policy and generalship is to materially and psychologically empower the first responders to deal with all foreseeable contingencies. Centralisation of responses and intelligence networks detracts from the efficiency of the counter-terrorism response. There must, consequently, be a comprehensive decentralisation of capacities of response. Force capabilities at the Police station and Police post, at the CPMF or Army company and platoon level, have to be adequate to respond to every foreseeable eventuality, and the necessary tactical and technological capabilities must be created for immediate responses at this level. Contemporary technologies make it entirely possible to reconcile such autonomy of response with a coherent and centralized strategic vision and plan, as well as with certain elements - such as centralized intelligence databases or coordination agencies - where the demands of unity of purpose, transborder jurisdictions, and economies of scale favour or necessitate concentration of resources or decision-making.

The capacities that are thus created must be deployed within the context of established crisis command structures, a clear chain of accountability and detailed systemic and protocol mechanisms that define strategic goals and tactical objectives in the wake of an incident, graded minimal responses, incident priorities, emergency communication systems, and protocols for notification and coordination. Finally, effective systems for co-ordination of forces and optimal sharing of intelligence between agencies and departments are necessary at the operational level.

6. Restoring State Dominance

The capacity of terrorist and insurgent groupings to create a situation of 'disruptive dominance' - where they are able to prevent the basic tasks of governance, particularly including protection of life and property, from being carried out - are enormously disproportionate to their actual size or support base, and rely overwhelmingly in creating a widespread environment of intimidation and terror. This asymmetry is tremendously facilitated by contemporary technologies and the proliferation of a range of increasingly lethal weaponry. This, and not some inchoate articulation of popular will, is the essence of the coercive power of such movements. As one commentator notes, "a democratic state can be shaken when the population begins to believe that it is more dangerous to do something for the state than against it."70 The primary and overwhelming objective of CT- CI campaigns, consequently, is to destroy the dynamic of such disruptive dominance, and to restore the confidence of the population in the state apparatus.

The incoherence of response has been the single most significant factor in the persistence of terrorist and extremist movements in India over extended periods of time, as the gains of each tactical or policy innovation or initiative are often cancelled out by contradictory moves before they can be consolidated.

The centrality of coherent governmental responses to the trajectory of an insurrection has been insufficiently understood, in this context, as the discourse vacillates between the extremes dictated by inchoate and misconceived theories of 'root causes', on the one hand, and the immediate imperatives of containment and retention of the rudiments of state control, on the other. W.C. Sonderland has noted, rightly, that, "as soon as the challenge is in the open the success of the operations depends not primarily on the development of insurgent strength, but more importantly on the degree of vigour, determination and skill with which the incumbent regime acts to defend itself, both politically and militarily."71 Barring brief periods characterized by the requisite clarity and focus, the necessary 'vigour, determination and skill' have, by and large, been lacking in the state's responses to terrorist and insurgent movements in India.

A tyranny of political correctness has stifled the strategic discourse on CT-CI in India, and led to a pervasive neglect of the necessity of responding to the rising challenge of violence within a rational framework. War is evil, no doubt; from this, however, it does not follow that it is either unnecessary or avoidable. And, as T.E. Lawrence noted, "With two thousand years of example behind us, we have no excuse, when fighting, for not fighting well".72

The precondition of effective CT-CI policy and strategy is a consensual and reality-based assessment, within the policy establishment, of the nature and threat of terrorism, and of the extraordinary geopolitical environment within which this threat is being manifested. In India, this is currently conspicuous by its absence. It is essential, now, for the national leadership to stop mouthing politically correct platitudes and slogans; to recognize the realities of the ground and frame solutions that are in conformity with the actual situation, the capacities of the enemy, and the capacities of the state.

It is imperative, further, that the policy establishment clearly recognizes the vulnerabilities of the Indian state, and does not underplay the threat - as has been the proclivity in certain quarters in the past. The temperature is rising slowly and critical sections of the establishment have long been in denial. Great powers have, through history, been defeated by lesser powers - and, unless India recognizes this risk and initiates effective measures to protect itself, its future is potentially imperilled.

  • Ajai Sahni is Executive Director, Institute for Conflict Management; Editor, South Asia Intelligence Review; Executive Director, South Asia Terrorism Portal; and Executive Editor, Faultlines: Writings on Conflict & Resolution.

  1. "India still vulnerable to 26/11 style attacks: Chidambaram", The Indian Express, October 16, 2009.

  2. See, for instance, Ajai Sahni, "Patchy Response to 26/11 Terror", The Pioneer, December 1, 2009

  3. Ibid.

  4. Bharat Karnad, "No more handholding, please", Hindustan Times, January 30, 2009, p. 12.

  5. This section relies significantly on Ajai Sahni, "Challenging Terrorism", India and Global Affairs, April-June, 2009.

  6. These deficits are discussed in some detail in, for instance, Ajai Sahni, "Strategic Vastu Shastra", South Asia Intelligence Review, Vol. 7, No. 24, December 22, 2009; and "The Peacock and the Ostrich", South Asia Intelligence Review, Vol. 8, No. 7, August 24, 2009.

  7. Robert Leonhard, The Art of Manoeuvre, Dehru Dun: The English Book Depot, 1998, p. 4.

  8. For some examples see, for instance, Ajai Sahni, "Social Science and Contemporary Conflicts: The Challenge of Research in Terrorism," Faultlines: Writings on Conflict & Resolution, Volume 9, New Delhi: ICM-Bulwark Books, July 2001, pp., 131-157.

  9. Michael Kinsley, cited in the Uncommon Knowledge programme, "Pulling out the Roots", filmed, November 11, 2002, transcript at

  10. Alan B. Krueger and Jitka Maleckova, "The Economics and the Education of Suicide Bombers: Does Poverty Cause Terrorism?" The New Republic, 24.06.2002,

  11. Harish K. Puri, Paramjit Singh Judge and Jagrup Singh Sekhon, Terrorism in Punjab: Understanding Grassroots Reality, New Delhi: Har Anand Publications, 1999, p. 51.

  12. Arun Kumar, The Black Economy in India, Delhi: Penguin Books, 1999, p. 188.

  13. See, Ajai Sahni, "The Peacock and the Ostrich", op. cit.

  14. Sir Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, 1620..

  15. Eric Hobsbawm speaks of the "political realists of appeasement" in the context of Europes craven negotiations with Hitler in the face of his growing belligerence after 1938. The Age of Extremes, New York: Vintage Books, p. 154.

  16. K.P.S. Gill & Ajai Sahni, "The J&K 'Peace Process: Chasing the Chimera," Faultlines: Writings on Conflict & Resolution, Volume 8, New Delhi: ICM-Bulwark Books, April 2001, p. 7.

  17. Fareed Zakaria, "How to Save the Arab World", Newsweek, December 24, 2001, p. 23.

  18. "Taliban gun down teacher for not hiking 'salwar' above ankles", The Times of India, January 23, 2009. .

  19. See, for instance, Praveen Swami, "Maoist Death Squads Executed Dozens around Lalgarh", The Hindu, June 25, 2009.

  20. 223 districts afflicted by the Maoist insurgency; 20 by the Pakistan backed Islamist terrorist movement in J&K; and 57 by a multiplicity of ethnicity based extremist and terrorist movements in India's Northeast.

  21. Ajai Sahni, "Social Science and Contemporary Conflicts: The Challenge of Research on Terrorism", in Faultlines: Writings on Conflict & Resolution, Volume 9, July 2001, New Delhi: ICM-Bulwark Books, p. 147.

  22. Larry Reynolds, "Sociological Theory in the 21st Century", Archives of the Transforming Sociology Series of the Red Feather Institute for Advanced Studies in Sociology, No.133,

  23. Ajai Sahni, "Social Science and Contemporary Conflicts: The Challenge of Research on Terrorism", op cit., p. 144.

  24. Ibid., pp. 144-145.

  25. Ibid., p. 146.

  26. Ibid., p. 148.

  27. Ibid., p. 154.

  28. Transnational Terrorism, Security and the Rule of Law (TTSRL), "Mapping Counter-terrorism", Deliverable 11, Workpackage 6, June 17, 2008,

  29. Report of the Group of Ministers on National Security, "Internal Security", Chapter IV, Government of India,

  30. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, "Address to the Nation", June 25, 2004, New Delhi,

  31. See, for instance, Ajai Sahni, "Patchy Response to 26/11 Terrorism", op. cit.

  32. Author's discussions with security leadership in the State, September 5, 2009.

  33. See, for instance, Ajai Sahni, "Global Terrorism in an Age of Uncertainty", Ajai Sahni, "Global Terrorism in an Age of Uncertainty", in Col. S.K. Sharma (Ed.), War Against Global Terror, Centre for Joint Warfare Studies, 2009, pp. 15-28..

  34. July 2008 Estimates, CIA's World Factbook,


  36. See, Ajai Sahni, "Blood Money", Defence and Security of India, April 2009.

  37. Ibid.

  38. This segment relies on Ajai Sahni, "The Ostrich and the Peacock", op. cit.

  39. Richard P. Adler (Rapporteur), "Minds on Fire: Enhancing India's Knowledge Workforce", Report of the Second Annual Joint Round Table on Communications Policy, Aspen Institute , 2007, p. 4.

  40. Ibid., p. 26.

  41. Ibid., p. 12

  42. B.E. O'Neill, Insurgency and Terrorism: Inside Modern Revolutionary Warfare, Virginia: Brassey, Inc., 1990, p. 1.

  43. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, London: Penguin Classics, 1982, p. 190.

  44. Ian F.W. Beckett, Modern Insurgencies and Counter-Insuregencies: Guerillas and their Opponents since 1750, London & New York: Routledge, 2001, p. vii.

  45. Mao Tse-tung on Guerrilla Warfare. Translation and Introduction by Brigadier General Samuel B. Griffith, New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1962, p. 7.

  46. The American emphasis on overwhelming force has undergone significant dilution in the recent past. See, for instance, Counterinsurgency, Field Manual No. 3-24, Marine Corps Warfighting Publication No. 3-33.5, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, DC, 2006.

  47. Lt. Col. Robert M. Cassidy, "The British Army and Counterinsurgency: The Salience of Military Culture", US Army Professional Writing Collection, May-June 2005,

  48. John Pimlott, "The British Army: The Dhofar Campaign, 1970-75", in Ian F.W. Beckett and John Pimlott, Armed Forces and Modern Counter-Insurgency, New York: St. Martin's Press Inc., 1985, pp. 16-19.

  49. US Congress, House Committee on Armed Services, Evolution of the War, Strategic Hamlet Program, 1961-63: An Appraisal - II. The Formulation of the Strategic Hamlet Program: R. Thompson's counterproposals in United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967, IV. B. 2. Book 3 of 12, p. 12. Cited in Geoffrey D.T. Shaw, "Policemen versus Soldiers: The Debate Leading to MAAG Objections and Washington's Rejection of the Core of the British Counter-Insurgency Advice", Small Wars and Insurgencies, Volume 12, No. 2, Summer 2001, p. 56.

  50. Ibid., p. 347.

  51. H. Thomas Hayden, "Counterinsurgency not Occupation",, November 18, 2003,,13190,Hayden_111803,00.html.

  52. Berry, N.O., 'Theories on the Efficacy of Terrorism', in Paul Wilkinson, & A.M. Stewart, (Ed), Contemporary Research on Terrorism, Aberdeen University Press, 1987, p. 297.

  53. Sir Robert Thompson, Defeating Communist Insurgency, London, Chatto and Windus, 1966, p. 50.

  54. Ibid., pp. 111-112.

  55. Ibid., pp. 50-57.

  56. Ibid., pp. 88-89.

  57. Counterinsurgency, Field Manual No. 3-24, op. cit., p.1-1

  58. Ibid., pp. 1-20 - 1-24.

  59. Ibid., p. 1-25.

  60. Ibid., p. 1-27

  61. Daniel Hughes, Moltke, on the Art of War: Selected Writings, Novato CA: The Presidio Press, 1993, p. 124.

  62. Counterinsurgency, Field Manual No. 3-24, op. cit., p.ix.

  63. Ibid.

  64. All data from South Asia Terrorism Portal,

  65. K.P.S. Gill, "Endgame in Punjab: 1988-93", Faultlines: Writings on Conflict & Resolution, Volume 1, May 1999, ICM-Bulwark Books, p. 69. This paper is the most authoritative account available of the strategic and tactical response to the Khalistani terror in Punjab. See,

  66. "We need Central help for tackling ISI aided terror", New Delhi: The Pioneer, June 18, 2003.

  67. For a detailed study, see, Project Report on Insurgency and Special Challenges to Policing in India's Northeast: A Case Study of the Tripura Police, Institute for Conflict Management, for the Bureau of Police Research and Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, 2007.

  68. CPI-Maoist Central Committee documents recovered by the Police in July-August 2007.

  69. See, Prem Mahadevan, "Counter Terrorism in the Indian Punjab: Assessing the 'Cat' System", Faultlines: Writings on Conflict & Resolution, Volume 18, ICM-Bulwark Books, January 2007, pp. 19-54.

  70. Horchem, H.J., "Terrorism in Germany: 1985", in Wilkinson & Stewart, op. cit., p. 157.

  71. W C Sonderland, "An analysis of the Guerilla Insurgency and Coup D' Etat as techniques of indirect aggression," International Studies Quarterly, December 1970, p. 345. [Emphasis added].

  72. As quoted in Robert B. Asprey, War in the Shadows, The Guerrilla in History, Vol. 1, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1975, p. 270.






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