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Could India’s Military Really Crush Pakistan? By Walter C. Ladwig III Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

Could India’s Military Really Crush Pakistan?


India’s conventional military superiority over Pakistan is exaggerated.

Walter C. Ladwig III

July 2, 2015

Following a raid by Indian special forces into Myanmar early this month, increasing attention has been given to the prospect that India might use similar means against Pakistan to pressure it to end support for anti-Indian militant groups. India’s on-going military modernization and headline-grabbing increases in defense spending have already raised concerns that it threatens to upset the delicate conventional military balance in the region and make military action a more attractive prospect for New Delhi. Taken at face value, there appears to be some validity to this line of thinking. Indian defense spending has doubled in real terms since 1997, growing at an average of 6.3 percent per year. The Modi announced a further 11 percent hike, raising the 2015–2016 military budget to $39.8 billion. Moreover, India is presently the world’s largest buyer of conventional weapons, with upwards of $100 billion expected to be spent on modernizing its defense forces over the next decade.

Consequently, a number of scholars and analysts have suggested Indian military modernization is threatening Pakistan’s conventional deterrence and pressuring Islamabad to embrace battlefield nuclear weapons as a tool of self defense. Yet, this line of thinking overlooks the fact that the Indian military is beset by obsolete platforms. Moreover, a pair of key structural factors mitigate whatever advantages India may be gaining through military modernization: terrain is not conducive to rapid successes in areas of significant strategic value, and in the most likely conflict scenarios, India is unlikely to achieve the strategic surprise necessary to make a limited offensive succeed. Consequently, Indian policymakers cannot be confident that even a limited resort to military force would achieve a rapid result, which is an essential pre-condition for deterrence failure.
Deterring State-Sponsored Terrorism with Conventional Force
Since the mid 2000s, the Indian Army has explored changes to its force structure and concept of operations to enable short-notice offensives of limited duration that would seek to make several small thrusts to Pakistan to quickly seize and hold territory. Termed “proactive strategies,” the aim is to rapidly mobilize division or smaller sized formations to carry out retaliatory conventional strikes that would deter or punish Pakistan for its links to terrorist groups, while simultaneously pursuing narrow enough aims to deny Islamabad a justification to escalate the clash to the nuclear level. In particular, the Indian Army seeks a rapid mobilization and offensive action by division or smaller sized formations who would seek to punish enemy forces or seize territory in a limited offensive of short duration.
Unsurprisingly these efforts have not been well received in Pakistan, whose leaders view the country’s conventional armed forces as the cornerstone of their strategic deterrent capability. Consequently, in recent years, a number of Pakistani analysts have sounded warnings about the Indian military’s alleged growing quantitative and qualitative advantages, alleging that Islamabad’s inability to keep pace with New Delhi’s military build up has increased the pressure to expand Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to include low-yield warheads and short-range delivery systems. These concerns have been echoed in Washington, D.C. A number of researchers at think tanks, including the  the Congressional Research Service, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Hudson Institute appear to share the beliefs of the Stimson Center’s Michael Krepon that Pakistan’s recent embrace of the utility of tactical nuclear weapons and broader Pakistani efforts to enhance the quality and quantity of their nuclear arsenal is a result of “India’s growing conventional capabilities and its more proactive military plans.”
Despite the seemingly dramatic increases in its defense spending, the Indian military—in particular the Army—faces numerous capability shortfalls that would hinder military operations against Pakistan. The large number of obsolete tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery pieces, not to mention critical shortages of ammunition and air-defense assets, raise serious questions whether India can undertake large-scale military operations at all, let alone whether ongoing defense modernization really is sharply shifting the conventional balance in its favor. Although Indian defense spending has gained attention worldwide, much of that money has been spent merely replacing obsolete weapons and equipment.
The most visible manifestation of the “hollowing out” of the Indian Army occurred in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, when then Army chief General Deepak Kapoor reportedly was forced to admit to the country’s political leadership that the Army “was not ready for war” with Pakistan in retaliation for the terrorist attacks.


Consequently, deterring Pakistani support for terrorism via conventional punishment faces a number of obstacles, including a lack of sufficient numerical superiority in the conflict zone, unfavorable terrain for a quick offensive and a lack of strategic surprise that could offset these other two factors.
Balance of Forces
Since the end of the Cold War, the manpower balance between the two armies has hovered around a 2:1 ratio in India’s favor. However, just 18 of the army’s 36 divisions are stationed in the states bordering Pakistan, fifteen of which are infantry divisions, with only limited offensive power. In contrast, 18 of the Pakistani army’s 22 divisions—including both of their armored divisions—are deployed in provinces adjacent to the international border. If we account for the estimated 70,000 Pakistani soldiers that have been temporarily redeployed to confront the Pakistani Taliban, India’s manpower advantage at the theater level at the start of any crisis would be 1.2:1.
The conventional wisdom amongst some defense analysts is that an attacking force requires a minimum of a 1.5:1 superiority in forces at the theater level to succeed. However, an attacker would likely seek a larger advantage, on the order of 2:1, before initiating offensive operations and those seeking a decisive outcome would want still higher force ratios in their favor. In any instance, India’s local force advantage is not decisive. Although in a longer conflict India could bring its numerical superiority to bear, the military has numerous shortfalls of ammunition and equipment that make a struggle of more than a few weeks duration unlikely. For example, as of August 2014, the Army lacked ammunition to undertake more than twenty days of “intense fighting” with less than seven days of reserves of key stocks of artillery ammunition, anti-tank missiles and a “critical shortage” of ammunition for its main battle tanks that would run out after ten days, hardly enough time for additional forces to make a difference.
In terms of equipment for ground combat, Pakistan appears to have partially closed a nearly 2:1 gap in tanks that India possessed in the early 1990s, to the point where India’s advantage is just over 1.15:1. However, this modest edge is undercut by the fact that Pakistani armored units are primarily stationed in the vicinity of the international border, while India’s are primarily based in central India.                 
Main Battle Tanks: 1992-2014
Moreover, it is alleged that large numbers of the Indian army’s fleet of tanks are nearing obsolescence and unable to operate at night, while their modern replacements are unsuited for operations in the desert regions around the international border. Unsurprisingly, some Indian defense analysts have suggested that their army requires at least 1,500 modern tanks to gain a conventional edge.
The major shortcoming for Indian forces seeking to undertake a short-notice offensive is their lack of mobile artillery to provide fire support to advancing units.  Political scandals and bureaucratic red tape have left the army with just 10 percent of the self-propelled artillery its mobile armored brigades and divisions require, constraining the kind of bold thrusts a limited aims offensive would require. A recently announced plan to acquire 814 mounted gun systems will address some of this shortfall, but the byzantine nature of Indian weapons procurement and a history of repeated artillery acquisition failures makes it unknown when, if ever, these weapons will actually find their way into service.


The 2,900 kilometer long Indo-Pakistani border is characterized by diverse and varied terrain that has differential impacts on military operations. In Kashmir, the landscape is mountainous and heavily forested. When combined with a lack of wide roads, the movement of vehicles and large military formations is significantly hindered. Depending on the time of year, it is possible to conduct large-scale military operations across the Line of Control (LoC) in the areas of south Jammu and the Kashmir valley. However, difficult terrain and under-developed transport infrastructure, in the words of one scholar, “makes swift, deep penetrations unlikely, if not impossible, in the face of even minor resistance.”
A second section of the border running from Southern Jammu and Kashmir through the Punjab down to Northern Rajasthan is marked by a near continuous line of concrete irrigation canals that stretch for 2,000 kilometers. Not only does this network of canals and their tributaries form an obstacle in its own right, they have been turned into defensive fortifications with the addition of large pilings of soil, concrete bunkers, minefields, and fortified gun emplacements. Securing a bridgehead and mounting a cross-canal assault against a dug-in opponent will be a time consuming and bloody affair.
The third section of the international border, where the Sindh and Punjab meet, is often described as Pakistan’s major point of strategic vulnerability because the country’s primary north-south transportation artery runs extremely close to the international border. However, that historical risk has been significantly alleviated by the construction of a largely parallel highway on the western side of the Indus River. Although this region lacks the extensive fortifications described in the northern Punjab, the presence of irrigation canals and a major river constrain the available axes of advance and allow defenders to fight from prepared positions.
The southernmost sections of the international border, consisting of the flat, barren deserts of Rajasthan and Gujarat are extremely suitable for mechanized military operations, however they lack significant strategic value.  Moreover, on the Pakistani side of the border areas of the harsh desert have been left empty to provide a natural buffer-zone that allows defenders to trade space for time as they readied a counter-attack.
Absence of Strategic Surprise
In a future clash in which India would wish to employ a pro-active strategy against Pakistan, the Indian Army is unlikely to achieve strategic surprise in a manner that would allow it to overcome the previously discussed constraints of numbers and terrain.
As the status-quo power in the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir, India has little incentive to launch a surprise attack. Consequently, under the most likely conflict scenarios, Pakistani forces will not be caught off guard, but will have a warning period in which they can mobilize their forces. A large-scale act of terrorism within India that is linked to Pakistan is by far the most probable trigger of conflict. That being said, given that the infiltration of Pakistani forces into Kashmir preceded the 1965 and 1999 wars, a future Pakistani government’s decision to do the same cannot be ruled out as a proximate cause of conflict. In either case, the Pakistani government will have prior warning about the imminent commencement of hostilities, either because scenes of terror are playing out on international television or because they were actively infiltrating troops into Indian territory.
Indian response time will also provide a buffer for Pakistan to respond. Based on the aftermath of the 2001 and 2008 terrorist attacks, the Indian army would require several weeks before it could hope to initiate military operations. Although reducing mobilization time is a key aspect of the “pro-active” strategies, offensive forces have not been pre-deployed in the border region, nor will the army’s efforts reduce the amount of time the country’s political leadership requires to deliberate before choosing to employ military force.
With 80 percent of the Pakistani Army’s divisions based in provinces adjacent to the international border—the majority of which are forward-deployed in defensive positions—Pakistan’s military is postured to repel an Indian attack. Additionally, it has taken steps in recent years to improve its crisis response capability so that it can capitalize on any warning it receives. Given the previous discussions of the terrain advantages accruing to a defender in Kashmir and the Punjab, even a partial mobilization of Pakistani forces is likely to present a significant obstacle to a limited offensive.
Were the Indian Army to seek to launch a short-notice, limited offensive, the twin constraints of geography and lack of strategic surprise suggest that under the most likely scenarios, India would have parity at best in the number of troops they could bring to bear in the early days of a conflict. In a conflict of several weeks duration, the army could leverage its larger numbers by shifting forces from East to West, but that would require a longer period of fighting than most analysts believe is possible before outside powers intervene to force a resolution to the crisis or the Indian Army runs out of ammunition. Moreover, a major shift of troops or the opening of multiple fronts beyond the Line of Control in Kashmir would signal to Pakistan that the conflict was not limited and short-duration, but full-scale war with the attendant nuclear escalation risks. None of this suggests Indian political leaders would have a high degree of confidence that a limited offensive would quickly achieve its objectives at minimal risk.
The main alternative to crossing the LoC on the ground in force is reliance on long-range punishment strikes.  These could be carried out by manned aircraft or missiles. The problem facing a bombardment strategy is that achieving a decisive result and limiting escalation are necessarily in tension: the targets that are of lowest escalation risk are also those of least value.  If India were to opt for attacks on high-value militant assets in Pakistan proper, such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s massive headquarters in Muridke, or, as some suggest, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) facilities linked to terrorist groups, it may succeed in imposing significant costs on Islamabad and Rawalpindi, but a significant military response would be guaranteed. In contrast, the most limited target available would be terrorist training camps in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. However, these targets are likely to be unsatisfactory for several reasons. First, Kashmiri militant groups have diversified across Pakistan which means there is no guarantee that the group suspected of responsibility for a specific terrorist attack would be vulnerable to retaliation in Pakistani Kashmir. Moreover, following news of a major terror attack, anti-Indian terrorist groups—even those unconnected to the event—are likely to go into hiding for a period of time, leaving identified camps unoccupied. Finally, since India does not possess heavy bombers, the ability of fighter jets or missile strikes to significantly damage terrorist bases is open to question.
It may be possible to reduce escalatory pressure on the Pakistani government by strictly confining strikes to the disputed territory of Kashmir, avoiding a direct confrontation with Pakistani military assets and inflicting very limited civilian casualties.mNevertheless, the Pakistani government will likely face strong domestic pressure—from both the military, radical Islamist groups, and a nationalistic public—to mount a response to an Indian attack. The optimistic case is that confining the strikes to Pakistan administered Kashmir—rather than internationally recognized Pakistani territory—will prevent Pakistan from horizontally escalating the conflict beyond Kashmir, thus keeping the clash from escalating vertically into full-scale war.
Limited strikes on a limited number of targets in Kashmir may prevent a conflict from escalating but, for reasons described above, this is likely to result in military action that is of symbolic, rather than substantive, nature, designed to assuage the anger of the Indian public rather than inflict meaningful harm on terrorist networks. Ultimately Indian military leaders may have to accept, if they haven’t already, the very unpleasant reality that what is essentially a political problem—Pakistan’s continued desire to wrest Kashmir away from India and its army’s pathological hatred of “Hindustan”—may not be amenable to a strictly military solution.
The Indian government has demonstrated an increased willingness to use force in an environment where headline grabbing increases in the Indian defense budget and a high-profile military modernization program are already alarming observers who worry that this could undermine the conventional military balance maintaining South Asia’s “ugly stability.” While on their face these concerns have validity, upon deeper examination, it is clear that, modernizing or not, the Indian military is capable of bringing far less force to bear in a limited conflict with Pakistan than most people realize. As a result, it is unlikely that Indian policymakers would conclude that they can either achieve strategic surprise against Pakistan necessary for a successful ground incursion or carry out highly-effective air strikes with little escalatory risk, each of which is a necessary condition for military operations to be authorized. Consequently, claims that India’s growing military power justifies Pakistan’s pursuit of tactical nuclear weapons, lack a firm foundation. South Asia remains an unstable region of the world, but the Indian military is not a source of that instability.


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Gambling against Armageddon by Amb.Munir Akram, former Pakistan ambassador to the UN

Gambling against Armageddon


Munir Akram, former Pakistan ambassador to the UN | 


IN an opinion piece last year, Henry Kissinger observed that over the next couple of decades a nuclear war was likely to take place between India and Pakistan. The nuclear factor was in play in four major and one minor India-Pakistan crises: in 1987, 1990, 1998, 1999 and 2002.
In 1987, when an Indian army chief launched the Brasstacks military exercises along Pakistan’s exposed desert borders, Pakistan responded by deploying its forces in the north where India was vulnerable. Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s agreement to a mutual stand-down no doubt also took into account the informal threat from Islamabad to bomb India’s nuclear reactors in case Pakistan was attacked. (After the crisis ended, the Pakistan-India agreement not to attack each other’s nuclear facilities was jointly formulated in one day.)
In January 1990, when the anti-Indian insurgency erupted in Kashmir and India threatened Pakistan, a conflict was forestalled by US intervention. The US acted when it learnt that Pakistan had begun to arm its nuclear-capable aircraft.

The operation of mutual deterrence between India and Pakistan is being eroded.

armageddon21During the night of 26-27 May 1998 — the night before Pakistan conducted its nuclear explosions in response to India’s tests — Pakistani radar detected unidentified aircraft flying towards its territory. Islamabad issued warnings of instant retaliation to India and relayed these to the US and Israel. This may have been a false alarm; but it illustrates the danger of accidental conflict in the absence of real-time communications.
During the 1999 Kargil war, the nuclear dimension was implicit, given that the crisis occurred a year after the India-Pakistan nuclear tests.
During the 2002 general mobilisation by India and Pakistan, the director general of the Pakistan Armed Forces Special Plans Division enunciated its nuclear ‘doctrine’ in a news interview. The ‘doctrine’ envisaged that Pakistan would use nuclear weapons if: it was being militarily overwhelmed; its nuclear or strategic weapons or facilities were attacked; and it was subjected to an enemy blockade.
The projection of this doctrine, including at a UN news conference by this writer in July 2002, sparked a fall in the Indian Stock Exchange, the evacuation of foreign personnel and embassy families from New Delhi and a demarche by Indian business leaders to prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, and reportedly led to the Indian agreement for a mutual drawback of forces.
The operation of mutual deterrence displayed in 2002, however, is being eroded by several developments.
One, the conventional military balance is becoming progressively unfavourable to Pakistan. India is engaged in a major arms build-up. It is the world’s largest arms importer today. It is deploying advanced and offensive land, air and sea weapons systems. Pakistan’s conventional capabilities may not prove sufficient to deter or halt an Indian attack.
Two, India has adopted the Cold Start doctrine envisaging a rapid strike against Pakistan. This would prevent Pakistan from mobilising its conventional defence and thus lower the threshold at which Pakistan may have to rely on nuclear deterrence.
Three, Pakistan has had to deploy over 150,000 troops on the western border due to its involvement in the cross-border counterterrorism campaign in Afghanistan, reducing its conventional defence capacity against India.
Four, the acquisition of foreign nuclear plants and fuel, made possible by the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement, will enable India to enlarge its nuclear weapons stockpile significantly. To maintain nuclear balance, Pakistan has accelerated production of fissile materials. Both nuclear arsenals are now large and growing.
Five, given its growing conventional disadvantage, and India’s pre-emptive war fighting doctrine, Pakistan has been obliged to deploy a larger number of nuclear-capable missiles, including so-called ‘theatre’ or tactical nuclear-capable missiles. The nuclear ‘threshold’ is now much lower.
Six, the Kashmir dispute — once described by former US president Bill Clinton as a nuclear flashpoint — continues to fester. Another insurgency is likely to erupt, certainly if the Bharatiya Janata Party government goes ahead with its platform promise to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian constitution (which accords special status to Jammu & Kashmir). A renewed Kashmiri insurgency will evoke Indian accusations against Pakistan and unleash another Indo-Pakistan crisis.
Seven, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has obviously decided to adopt an aggressive posture towards Pakistan, no doubt to appeal to his hard-line Hindu constituency. The recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control are an ominous indication of such belligerency.
Eight, India is reportedly involved in supporting the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and the Baloch Liberation Army to destabilise Pakistan internally.
Nine, India has terminated the ‘composite dialogue’ with Pakistan. Its precondition for talks — an “absence of violence” — is impossible for Pakistan to meet.
Ten, the US and other major powers evince little interest in addressing the combustible mix of live disputes, terrorist threats, conventional arms imbalance and nuclear weapons in South Asia.
During the parallel dialogue initiated by the US with Pakistan and India following their 1998 nuclear explosions, Pakistan proposed a ‘strategic restraint regime’ with India which would include mechanisms to resolve disputes, including Kashmir; preserve a conventional arms balance and promote mutual nuclear and missile restraint.
India rejected the concept of a mutual restraint regime.
The US at first agreed to consider Pakistan’s proposal. However, as their talks with India transitioned from restricting India’s nuclear programme to building a “strategic partnership” (against China), the Americans de-hyphenated policy towards Pakistan and India, opened the doors to building India’s conventional and nuclear capabilities and disavowed any interest in the Kashmir dispute. Currently, Indian belligerence is bolstered by US pressure on Pakistan to halt fissile material production and reverse the deployment of theatre nuclear-capable missiles.
If a South Asian Armageddon is to be prevented, it is essential to build a structure of stable deterrence between India and Pakistan and find ways to deal with Kashmir and other outstanding disputes. Reviving consideration of a strategic restraint regime would be a good place to start.
The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.

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The Naxal threat to India – Sabena Siddiqui
























The Naxal threat to India.
The Naxalite/Maoist
is India’s most violent insurgency
movement after Kashmir. It has continued
to defy the state for longer than any
other uprising in
India , the
insurgent strategy of the Naxalites can be compared to
that of the Maoists in China .

Naxal movement in India started on 25th May 1967 from Naxalbari village
of Siliguri sub-division of Darjeeling
district of west Bengal, as a violent
struggle of natives .At that time there was a world-
wide stance against capitalism.
Leninism-Maoism is the ideological
basis ,immediate aim
of the Communist Party was
to complete a new
democratic revolution in India as a part
of the world proletarian revolution by
overthrowing th e semi-colonial, semi-
feudal system under neo- colonial form
of indirect rule, exploitation and control
and the three targets were ;
—imperialism, feudalism and
big bourgeoisie.The elite rich was to be overthrown and there would be
an equal distribution of wealth.
The revolution would be carried
out and completed through armed
agrarian revolutionary war i.e. the
Protracted People’s War with area wise
seizure of power remaining as its
central task.
Encircling the cities from
the countryside and thereby finally
capturing them was the main strategy .
The Naxalbari upsurge was sparked by
the fact that land
reforms were still ineffectual. Its
sustenance was fuelled by class and
caste tensions and the sense of
desperation due to the prevailing
economic and social conditions.
The ideology gained
momentum in the seventies, among the
youth and the intellectual circles in
many parts of India.
Communism is not that popular any more , specially after the downfall
of the USSR . It has been somewhat modified and consumerism has now
been introduced in China where it was previously unheard of .
The Naxalites endorse Maoism /Leninism /Marxism , it still has to be
seen how they apply it wherever they are in control.
Since its inception its support fluctuated in each decade , its most
recent manifestation is the result of a
2004 decision by two Maoist groupings,
the People’s War Group and the Maoist
Communist Centre, to join forces to
form the Communist Party of India
It has significant presence in
the states of Kerala, West Bengal
and Tripura. As of 2011, CPI(M) is
leading the state government in
Tripura. It leads the Left Front
coalition of leftist parties in other
states and the national parliament
of India,they have 543 seats .





























This post-2004 incarnation of
the Naxalite insurgency has been one of
the most sustained — and perhaps the
most lethal.
They are much more successful in their objectives now than in the past .
the present Maoist insurgents are
better equipped and properly trained to
wage guerilla warfare.

The present Maoist insurgents are
better equipped and properly trained to
wage guerilla warfare. They have learnt
from their past mistakes, which
were committed by their leaders.
According to guerilla
warfare principle, the leaders should
learn from mistakes and change the
strategy accordingly.

Until now, urban terrorism has
been avoided, the mistake and defeat of
the urban Maoist insurgency is
remembered by the new learners of the

The Naxal,s prime weakness was lack of
weapons ,standardized
weapons are a key advantage for
organized militias , an advantage the Naxalites lack. Parts and ammunition
of a random assortment of weapons are not interchangeable, which is an
important tactical limitation.

Another factor was their primary focus on villages , concentrating on
the urban poor would have been more effective and speeded up the
revolution .
The Naxalite style of
killing asked for revenge and retribution which made the backlash
worse for them .
Many fake encounters occured with police forces in a vengeful mood
with so many policemen
being killed.
‘Bandh ‘ when the Maoists want a strike or want to close down anything
.Khatam line’ – is the policy of targeted
killing of individuals.
These two practices also caused unnecessary complications and gave the
whole movement a Mafia image .
When a bandh is declared
by the Naxalites, it has an
implied threat of violence to enforce
work stoppage.


















The new breed of Naxalites is far
better grounded in ideology. Their
weaponry is much better and
they are better equipped to take
advantage of the administration’s
Down the years the
whole movement has acquired a
predominantly rural or tribal character
where lower castes and marginal
groups in the social hierarchy now
form the core of its support base.
The movement is on the rise and
its influence among the poor and
downtrodden is growing. Despite
tremendous state repression
accompanied by martyrdoms and
killings, the flow of fresh cadres to its
ranks is not dwindling. Today it can claim to be
one of the strongest revolutionary left
movements in the world, those only
next to the Philippines, Peru and Nepal.

They are working in accordance with Mao’s “protracted
people’s war” strategy.
The method of t he Naxal/ Maoist movement is to
organize revolution on the pattern of
Maoist revolution of China through
armed and violent struggle. Their main
strategy is to control first rural then
urban area and finally capture political
authority. They do not have faith in
parliament and peaceful changes. The Naxalite organization
is a sophisticated one that relies not
only on militant tactics but also on
social unrest and political tactics to
increase its power.
Naxalites have
formed sympathetic student groups in
universities, and human-rights groups
This ideology has attracted not only peasants but urban educated
middleclass youth as well. Medical and engineering students are also
part of the rebellion dis-illusioned by the corrupt political system .
They seize
political power by initially transforming
rural areas into guerrilla zones
and subsequently into liberated zones.

It is a paradox that ‘Shining India ‘ finds itself in the throes of an
agrarian rebellion inspired by an ideology that is passé în most of
the world .
India is a fast
growing economy but does not
benefit the poor who are in overwhelming majority.
India houses one of the
largest poorest populations in the world.
India grows only sector-wise, it has been called the poorest nation in
the world according to a World Bank report this year .
Nehru´s policies of idolizing
heavy industries before developing
the man-power infrastructure have
harmed the Indian economy.
Despite liberalisation the benefits
of ‘India Shining’ do not reach 90 per
cent of Indians,economic growth in India has
not trickled down, a political liability
that the Naxalites have taken advantage of.

The fiery
ideologies work by
envisioning a spontaneous mass
upsurge all over India that would create
a ‘liberated zone’. The Naxalite movement came into
being as a result of prevailing social and
economic issues.
They were highly repressed, tortured and
their leaders were killed
today 14 out of the 28 States of India feel
the dangerous presence of these
Naxalites .

They want to topple the Indian state by force and intended to achieve
this by 1975 but have since compromised
and now aspire to control India by 2016.
Naxalite-Maoist insurgency
is establishing itself as the biggest threat
to the internal security of

Naxals attacked a political
rally in state of Chattisgarh on
25th May , killing 28 ministers. The Maoists blamed chief
minister Raman Singh,
Manmohan Singh , Sonia
Gandhi and others for keeping mum
when innocent people were killed what
they termed as state sponsored
Nothing has exposed the inherent flaws
in India’s anti-Naxalite policy and
in its implementation on the ground
more vividly than this brutal massacre of
the top brass of
the Congress in Chhattisgarh.

The Indian security forces have begun a
major offensive against Naxalites. Using
satellite technology large areas of India
have been mapped . Altogether more
than 80000 security forces are
deployed to recapture Naxalite areas
Indian government has ordered number
of sophisticated UAVs from U.S to spearhead the
Two months ago Indian
security forces started a major
operation in West Bengal state to
recapture hundreds of villages
occupied by Communist Party (Maoist)
aka Naxalites. Previously dubious schemes such as the Salwa
Judum, an anti-Naxalite militia ,failed to get the security
agencies to work in tandem within an
institutionalised framework.
An ambush was carried out by the Communist
Party of India ,
in the Karmatiya forests in
Latehar District, Jharkhand in January
The new tactic of the Maoists is
implanting IEDs in dead bodies of their adversaries to cause more casualties .
This ‘Body trap’ strategy of the Maoists
has never been witnessed before in the
history of the Naxal Movement .
They keep employing new tactics constantly which makes them even more
unpredictable and dangerous , it has even been claimed they learn
tactics from Hollywood action movies and their mercenaries are given
CDs to watch and pick up methods from.
They employ a wide range of low-intensity
guerrilla tactics against government
institutions, officials, security forces
and paramilitary groups.
An average of almost 500-600 people are killed every year in the past
decade due to Naxal violent clashes , a good percentage of which is
always civilians.
The biggest Naxal attack up till now was in April , 2010,at least 75
personnel of CRPF were killed in an
ambush by Naxalites in
Chhattisgarh .
According to officials, the Naxalites
attacked a CRPF convoy in the
Tademetla forests. Waiting on hilltops,
they opened indiscriminate fire and
triggered an IED blast as the convoy
appeared. 1,000 Naxals were part of the
attack while the CRPF team had only
120 personnel.
Vietnamese and
Israeli help has been sought by the Indian government in the latest
operations against the Naxalites .
The Naxals are a big threat to business
and industry as some of the railways
and mining towns are in their
strongholds , they can close down railway lines and entire cities with
‘Bandh’ and ‘Khatam’ is used for exterminating enemies .Some of the
violent attacks conducted by the
Naxalites have been against freight and
police transport trains, killing dozens of
people at a time. Naxalites’ constantly sabotage roads by planting
improvised explosive
devices under road surfaces or
simply digging roads up.
Naxalites view roads as a means for the
government to send its forces into their
territory and does not let the Indian government start any development

Home minister has banned
Communist Party (Maoist) and called
Naxalites as the biggest threat to
Indian State.Indeed,
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
has labeled the Naxalites “the biggest
internal security challenge” to India.
It is the most topical and fastest-
growing movement in India , Naxalites are often referred to by the state as a
Now Naxalites are active in 40% of
India’s land area. They are active in
Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar
Pradesh, and West Bengal states. Out of
these states they control more than
40% of the land area in Chhattisgarh
and Jharkhand states and they spread fast .
have virtually spread to over 20 per cent
of the total districts in India.
The Maoists almost run a parallel government ,anyone who understands
Maoist tactics needs no
specific intelligence inputs to know that
anyone could be the target of an attack in
what is referred to as the Red Corridor.Most political parties survive
in Naxal areas by bribing them to stay safe.

Naxal rebellion also benefited from
the ongoing drought in India which
affected peasants drastically .
Difficulties like starvation and disease brought more farmers into the
folds of the Naxalite movement .
The government has not given peasants any relief ,270,000 farmers have
committed suicide since 1995 .
Naxalites claim support by the
poorest rural populations, especially

On a grander geopolitical level, the
Naxalites can be viewed through the
prism of Chinese-Indian rivalry.
In the beginning there was mutual rhetorical
support between the Maoist regime in
China and the Naxalites in India.The advent and
growth of the Naxalite movement
certainly did serve China’s goal of
weakening its largest neighbor to the
The Indians have always feared
outside powers would manipulate
grassroots rebel groups in India and further
destabilize an already regionalized
In 2011, Indian police
accused the Chinese government of
providing sanctuary to the
movement’s leaders, and accused
Pakistani ISI of providing financial
When the Naxalite movement
began in the 1960s, New Delhi feared
Beijing was trying to get a foothold in
India, and for the past 50 years India
has demonized Pakistan’s Inter-Services
Intelligence directorate (ISI) for
allegedly supporting militant operations
in India
.There is no evidence available to prove these allegations. Naxalite leaders in
India deny cooperating with Pakistan
but have very publicly pledged their
support for all separatist movements in
Alarmist visions linking Naxalites to militant groups
supposedly backed by Pakistan, India’s main
geopolitical rival is the ultimate
“nightmare” scenario for India.
The Naxalite arsenal is vast and diverse,
consisting of weapons manufactured in
China, Russia, the United States,
Pakistan and India.
The lack of
weapons uniformity among Naxalite
groups indicates they have
no benefactor to bestow a reliable, standardized arsenal
and have had to build up their own from
Naxals are making money from their various resources and are trying to
upgrade their weaponry though.
The present-day
Naxalites are no more confined to
traditional weapons and are better
equipped than state police forces and
use latest modern communication
gadgets to track police movements.
Gathering intelligence
Naxilites interact with Maoists from Nepal,
secessionists in India’s restive
northeast, Islamists from
Bangladesh, criminals from Myanmar
and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka.
The Naxalites are a low-
maintenance, self-sustaining
movement that will continue to
undermine Indian rule in the country’s
east .

“Naxalism” now affects
some 170 of India’s 602 districts—a
“red corridor” down a swathe of central
India from the border with Nepal in the
north to Karnataka in the south and
covering more than a quarter of India’s
land mass.
A vast portion of India, from
West Bengal in the northeast to Andhra
Pradesh in the south, has come under
the influence of the Naxalites — the
“Red Taliban” as they have been called.

A primitive peasant rebellion
based on an outmoded ideology is out
of keeping with the modern India of
soaring growth, Bollywood dreams and
Sheer injustice in Indian society has created insurgencies, eg. Dalits
make up for the most
part of Indian population yet they remained deprived of the benefits of
the current economic boom.
They are
forced into menial jobs, denied entry to
temples, cremation grounds and river
bathing points and cannot even share a
barber with the upper caste Hindu.
Punishments are severe when these
boundaries are transgressed.
In Tamil
Nadu, for instance, 45 special types of
‘untouchability’ practices are common.
A violent
insurgency in Indian-administered
Kashmir has claimed tens of thousands
of lives. Its north-eastern states are
wracked by dozens of secessionist
The seven states of northeastern India
also called the Seven Sisters are
significantly different, ethnically and
linguistically from the rest of India.
These states are rocked by numerous
armed and violent insurgencies,
seeking separate statehood, autonomy
or outright independence, mostly for
government neglect. These include
Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya,
Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and
Tripura. The Tamil struggle continues
till date and is gaining momentum each
passing day.
India has in all, an estimated 30 armed
insurgency movements are sweeping
across the country, reflecting an acute
sense of alienation on the part of the
people involved. Broadly, these can be
divided into movements for political
rights e.g. Assam, Kashmir and
Khalistan Punjab, movements for
social and economic justice e.g. Maoist
Naxalite and north-eastern states,
and religious grounds eg. Ladakh.
These causes overlap at times.
There are 16 belligerent groups
and 68 major organization as terrorist
groups in India, which include: nine in
the northeast Seven Sisters, four in
the center & the east including Maoist/
Naxalites, seventeen in the west Sikh
separatist groups, and 38 in the
northwest Kashmir.

India has an unjust system and no amount of face -saving can hide the
barbaric and primitive streak in its very ethos .
India has a bad experience of
army deployment in the past to
address domestic threats. In the 1980s,
use of the army to deal with Sikh
militancy was too
brutal and brought in a lot of criticism . Military action at the
Golden Temple in Amritsar, codenamed
Operation Blue Star, also fanned the
flames of Sikh militancy and sparked a
series of serious counter-attacks like the assassination of Indian
The Indian army is
currently fighting
separatist forces in
Kashmir , along the
disputed border with Pakistan, and is
dealing with multiple ethno-separatist
movements in the northeast region of
India surrounded by China and
The Naxalite problem is in certain
respects more serious than the Kashmir
India certainly needs to develop an effective strategy to deal with
the Naxal movement now ,it needed to be ‘nipped in the bud ‘ but
instead it was left to fester .




















At the same time this
year due to the delay in monsoon ,
drought is feared in many states. Only
40% of agricultural land is irrigated.
Drought coupled with
global recession will be a disaster to
Indian economy. These conditions will
only strengthen and exacerbate the Naxalite movement.

Naxalites have
been among the most principled of
terrorist groups in selecting their
targets. Their leaders are
thinking far into the future, taking a
20- to 25-year view of their struggle.
“Liberated” areas would be expanded until
they pose a threat even to India’s
cities.They talk boldly of expanding
Naxalite influence into new areas:
Kashmir, the north-east, and India’s
cities. The spread of Naxalism is
causing justifiable alarm.They dream of seeing the red flag fly
over the Red Fort in Delhi in their














Rise of insurgencies in India presents a
very disturbing scenario, Suhas Chakma, Director of
Asian Centre for Human Rights, New
Delhi, says that ‘India is at war with

In the present globalized world where
terrorism and human rights are talked
about a lot, surprisingly Naxalite
movement is overlooked on both counts.
Neither terrorist acts by Naxalites nor
their deliberate oppression by the
Indian Government has attracted
international attention.
Thinktank Stratfor informed India a few years back that
irrespective of the Maoist
movement appearing to be fairly
contained in India, the rebel
group’s leaders could develop the
“tradecraft for urban terrorism”,’
The groups leader s and bomb-makers could develop the capability to
strike outside the ‘Red Corridor ‘.

Naxal corridor could
become a breeding ground for
terrorism, stakeholders
may be exporting terror from this
region to fulfill ambitions across borders
on all sides of India.
The Naxalite
challenge to the state could materialize
in other unpredictable ,unforeseen ways.

“Naxalites are honing their capacity to
construct and deploy IEDs, conduct
armed raids and maintain an extensive,
agile and responsive intelligence
network,” warned Stratfor.
Naxalites have expressed the intention
to drive multinational corporations
out of India and that they would
use violence to do so. This
threat is backed by a
proven tactical ability to strike
economic targets , which is a top
concern for the Indian government.
If India cannot provide security to multi-nationals and corporates its
economy could suffer a setback.















Strong Maoist movement in India is a
threat to western capitalism as well , maybe that is why the corporate
owned Western media ignores this growing phenomenon ,it is probably
percieved as a threat to capitalist powers.
Moreover ,as the balance of power tilts towards China in the 21st
century , it is possible that a Communist or even semi -Communist
India would be more acceptable to the new world power .China does seem
to have a specific strategy concerning India as it has proceeded to
encircle it completely and the Ladakh incident seemed like an
experiment to test India .
The ideal would of course be a system which incorporates good points
of both communism and capitalism ,this would make it infinitely more
practical as both systems have well-exposed weak points .
It is very much possible that communism could become an even stronger
movement in the future in India.

At home , Indian media presents a censored version of the news aimed
at downplaying the Naxal crisis brewing at home .
It is highly unlikely that this ostrich in the sand attitude will wish
away the Naxalites .
It is becoming more and more obvious that India is struggling
unsuccessfully to control all these rebellions .
India has to do much more than
plan counter-insurgency operations or
support violent vigilante groups to
suppress the Naxalite movement.
Poor strategies and
inadequate studies of Naxal principles
account for a lack of an effective
counter terrorism action.
An effective
riposte to their violence was a judicious
mix of counterterror action and the
empowerment of the tribals
which would have reduced Naxalite influence.
It is clear that there is a wide chasm
between promises and their eventual
deliverance.Until the Indian government
implements employment, poverty
alleviation and land reform
programmes, counterinsurgency
measures cannot achieve much..
Using strong-arm tactics on
Naxalites is not advisable as they have
grassroots support of millions of
victimised Indians.
The Maoist insurgency is an
obstacle in the way of India’s
emergence as a world power.
, according to one estimate
40% of India’s territory is
under some form of Maoist influence.
India does not seem willing to combat the Naxals militarily yet
;whenever it decides to start an operation it would face a tough
fight against a well-entrenched
movement –

Further Reading







Food For Thought: 

India’s Nuclear Weapons May Fall Into Naxal Communists Hands


For Terrorism Against US & NATO Nations


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