Brigadier Narender Kumar: Was anti-Maoist operation botched up?

‘Counter-insurgency operations can’t be carried out by following rigid SOPs.’
‘It is unwise to enter jungles with a big physique of troops with out exact intelligence,’ asserts counter-insurgency professional Brigadier Narender Kumar (retd).

IMAGE: Central Reserve Police Force personnel carry the coffin of a paramilitary soldier who misplaced his life within the encounter with Maoists in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, April 4, 2021. Photograph: PTI Photo


Since the time the Maoist motion began, successive governments have didn’t create bargaining energy and peace enforcement in Maoist infested areas. We have didn’t assess the price of the Maoist motion to the State and society and their potential to destabilise the heartland.

In spite of the deployment of specifically skilled counter forces, the federal government has not been in a position to power the Maoists to return to the negotiation tables.

The lack of 22 safety personnel, 30 injured and one lacking in operations within the Bijapur-Sukma areas of Chhattisgarh on April 3-4 is a reminder that we have to take a relook at our counter-Maoist technique.

It is comprehensible that operations will not be deliberate by political leaders nor are they required to steer males. But what political leaders should do is select their generals rigorously who can ship in warfare.

Winston Churchill, regardless of his transient profession within the armed forces, was not a grasp strategist, however he knew whom to decide on to steer males in warfare.

Jawaharlal Nehru didn’t determine a frontrunner who may obtain the political targets of warfare in 1962 and the nation was humiliated.

Similarly, counterinsurgency is fought by the political and safety forces leaders within the cognitive area and if both of them fail, the lads can pay the worth of incompetence of their leaders.

The repeated reversal in counterinsurgency operations in coping with Maoist violence is in actuality a collective failure of inside safety managers. Firstly, their lack of ability to determine the suitable leaders to steer the lads and secondly, a lack of information of the complicated nature of counterinsurgency operations on the increased degree.

If this anomaly will not be rectified quickly, the losses in future will likely be a lot larger.

IMAGE: April 5, 2021: Officers pay tribute to the troopers killed in Bijapur. Photograph: @ChhattisgarhCMO/Twitter/PTI Photo

The incident has highlighted many elements of how to not conduct counter-insurgency operations. The commander controlling operations had little situational consciousness.

As per media stories, the our bodies of the lacking safety personnel could possibly be recovered solely 24 hours after the incident. Medical evacuation was delayed past the golden interval as a result of the variety of casualties and places had been most likely unknown.

While planning such a big operation the place 1,500 to 2,000 males are launched in operation, there’s a necessity of getting reserves for any contingencies, however on this case all fundamental rules of operations seem to have been compromised.

Timely reinforcement may have saved the lack of lives and lack of weapons and war-like shops.

The conceptual questions are:
Wwhat are the operational directive to the lads on floor?
What are the political goal and nationwide pursuits they’re required to realize?

There needs to be a severe dedication for males to go willingly, not as a cannon fodder or sacrificial lambs, however with a dedication to achieve their marketing campaign. It can’t be simply safety of their camps and prevention of incidents of their areas of operation.

The males and officers should have targets and the junoon to outwit the Maoists even at grave menace to their lives.

IMAGE: CRPF personnel carry the coffin of a paramilitary soldier, April 4, 2021. Photograph: @ChhattisgarhCMO/Twitter/PTI Photo

Counter Maoist operations have been occurring now for many years, however the large query is: Have we created a ‘bargaining leverage’ that compels the insurgents to barter with out pre-conditions?

Friction of their cadres and management have to be so excessive that folks no extra ally themselves with the targets of People’s War. This would require a strong counter Maoist operational technique, exact intelligence to sever the availability of weapons, ammunition, communication and logistic assist to the Maoists.

A resilient warfare of notion and a strong administration for deliverance of governance is a should to consolidate counter-insurgency efforts.

A fractured method and a swap on swap off technique will all the time ship reversals.

Have we decoded how the Maoists get their enormous provide of small arms ammunition for SLRs and LMGs produced by the Ordinance Factory Board?

Who are the conduits of this ammunition provide?

Is it coming from throughout the border or via the maritime route?

What are we doing to dry up this pipeline?

These are some vital questions that want solutions urgently.

When the insurgents begin dominating the general public discourse, the safety forces should wrest initiative from the insurgents. The different organs of the State will be a part of counter-insurgency efforts as soon as a point of dominance is achieved over the insurgents.

All these points require leaders who will lead from the entrance and direct operations on the bottom.

IMAGE: A paramilitary soldier being taken for therapy after he was injured within the encounter with the Maoists, April 4, 2021. Photograph: PTI Photo

Control of the inhabitants and monitoring of over floor staff is as a lot important as tactical operations.

The insurgents will begin getting impatient when their logistical assist begin drying up and public assist dwindles. That is the time when they are going to emerge from their protected havens. Thus, chasing them of their robust factors (inside jungles) is an unwarranted and flawed technique.

Running after fast and tactical successes is a foul observe. It is a recreation of wits and persistence. Thus, the suitable method is to penetrate, consolidate after which create collection of robust factors to limit the liberty of motion of the Maoists.

Use of drones to achieve info on the motion of the insurgents and terrain is significant since males can’t be requested to plunge within the darkness.

Achieving tactical success is important to revive the morale of males and wresting initiative from the insurgents.

If kinetic operations fail to trigger friction amongst Maoist cadres and their management, excesses in opposition to the tribals will likely be disastrous. Such immature and unprofessional acts by the safety forces are unlikely to yield any optimistic outcomes.

Commanders should ask males to be calm and never show anger in opposition to harmless folks.

It is true that organisational losses to the Maoists must be excessive sufficient to power them to return to the negotiating desk with the federal government, however one should do not forget that counter-insurgency efforts can’t be achieved via the barrel of the gun alone.

There is a necessity to grasp that the Maoists have all the time gained from the primary strike and safety forces have all the time discovered themselves both reacting or finishing up jungle bashing to supply outcomes from skinny air.

The finest technique is when the upper management of the safety forces is ready to create situations for males on the bottom to succeed by deploying know-how, exact intelligence and nicely skilled sub-units competent sufficient to function in small groups.

Counter-insurgency operations can’t be carried out by following rigid customary working procedures (SOPs). It would require at occasions defying conference, being unpredictable, going covert and endeavor intelligence-based lightening operations.

In the sunshine of the above details, it’s unwise to enter jungles with a big physique of troops with out exact intelligence.

In the warmth of anger or revenge, safety forces should not neglect the ‘profitable hearts and minds’ technique.

Counter-insurgency operations are all about mind and dealing from the grassroot degree upwards and never for individuals who are parachuted from the highest.

It will not be journey tourism. Only those that have spent days main males in ambushes are competent sufficient to steer the forces, not those that cover behind SOPs and political clout.

There needs to be accountability. Someone should pay for the lack of lives of males who turned victims of collective incompetence of these on the helm of affairs of inside safety.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/


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