The Nature of the Moists Attack !!
Maoist attacks on the security forces and the symbols of state power are characterised by
- meticulous planning,
- systematic preparation,
- near-surgical execution and
- a high degree of coordination.
On several occasions, the rebels have achieved considerable success in launching synchronised attacks on multiple targets involving large numbers of cadres. For the Maoists, besides waging a protracted people’s war with the ultimate objective of capturing or seizing political power, participating in a peace process and talks is a ‘tactic’ and considered ‘war by other means’.
Response of the State !!
The response of various state governments and the Centre is invariably reactive. While the Maoists have been expanding to newer areas and have been steadily enhancing their military capabilities, counter-Naxal operations have mostly been lackadaisical.
The reasons for this apathetic approach are three-fold.
1. Firstly, Naxal terrorism is not an emotive issue at the national level like the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.
2. Secondly, there is some confusion about whether the Naxalites are terrorists or not as they have a ‘social justice’ tag attached to them.
3. And, lastly, an impression has gained currency that the Naxal menace is not “as bad as the media makes it out to be.”
Coordination between the police and intelligence agencies of various affected states has been generally
- synthesis and
- dissemination of intelligence are
The Naxalites are continuing to spread their tentacles and it is crucial that intelligence about their activities, arms and equipment, training, sources of funding and future operations is shared on a daily basis so that it trickles down in near real-time to the functional level. A national-level data base of all terrorist groups and individuals is an inescapable operational necessity.
State police forces and the Central armed police forces (CAPFs) need to be better equipped and trained like the army to successfully combat the serious threat posed by the Naxalites.
- At present they lack the army’s organisational structure and cohesiveness, the army’s institutionalised operational experience and ethos and its outstanding junior leadership – qualities that are mandatory for success in counter-insurgency operations.
- A great deal more needs to be done if the states are to effectively coordinate anti-Maoist operations across their borders.
The Maoist threat presents a clear and present danger. So far the national response has been inadequate, both at the policy formulation and execution levels. To cope with this serious threat, India needs a well-deliberated and finely calibrated strategy with matching operational doctrines and the allotment of necessary resources. Only a skilfully planned and coordinated strategy, with all stakeholders pooling in their resources to achieve synergy in execution, will achieve the desired results.
At the same time, a comprehensive socio-economic strategy must be evolved to treat the root causes of this malaise that is gnawing away at the nation’s innards, along with a carefully drawn up plan for perception management. Good governance, development, security and perception management must go hand in hand.