The US and NATO has been involved in extensive COIN ops in the past decade. COIN known alternatively as assymetric warfare, 4th generation warfare and unconventional warfare. This si to discuss COIN in general and western perspectives on it and how India can apply it to its own areas of conflicts. Areas like Kashmir, NE and Naxal affected areas. But also in case Indian forces have to be stationed in conflict zones abroad. The country that is better able to master COIN ops will be better prepared for the war of the future.
David Kilcullen is a former Australian army officer who has played a fundamental role in strategising COIN roles for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also wrote the famous books The Accidental Guerilla and Counter insurgency.
The main idea is the fundamental move from Enemy centric startegy to a Population centric strategy where the military enables the political establisment to reach to a favorable politcal settlement. All COINs have to end with a politcal settlement with the main antagonistic party. More interestingly, 80% of COIN in the last 60-70 years have met with sucess.
Here is a 2007 video which gives an overview of latest COIN thinking on a Charlie Rose show.
Here is a 2009 video focussing more on Afghanistan,
David Kilcullen, an expert on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, describes Pakistan's role in the war on terror and security threats posed by the country's military, possession of nuclear weapons, and overall instability.
Is there anything india can learn from west in COIN.....I dont think so.Rather west can learn from indian COIN experiences in J&K and northeast.West SOP for coin is for call in for artillery support and air support and flatten the area with heavy bombardment and then gloss over collateral damages.extensive coin requires Boots on the ground and is long drawn out war which nato lacks in afghanistan hence its losing the WOT there.
^^ Ahem Ahem. I think you're forgetting Maoist problem in our country which is NOT A LAW AND ORDER problem, it is a terrorism problem. ULFA, Bodoland, Kamtapur etc are all Left-wing terrorism problems and one can ascertain that from the names they have "people's liberation" "people's democratic.." etc. Typical Communist terror and CPI is also covertly involved in this. This is the obvious Indian hand in this--CPI.
I'd say, we must learn from China on how to quell anti-government and anti-national terrorists. Strip communications, ban access to media, blank out press on terrorism for sometime and give a FREE HAND to the Army and IAF in cleansing Red Corridor as well as their puppets in northeast and also Jihadi terrorism in Kashmir. I might be sounding crazy but Chinese have shown that terrorists only understand the language of Brute force and inhumane actions.
Im not sure how closely you have been following US ops in Iraq for example but the under Patereus, the surge post 2006-2007 did an excellent job out of a bloody situation. There are a number of things that I would like to highlight but first I hope both of you actually watched the two videos of about an hour each before making comments.
I think that there is always something to learn. And particularly since the Americans have a fine military machine it is always interesting to learn how they adapt and their plusses and minuses. Particularly fascinating is how they reduce everything to a scientific and statistical approach to have a deterministic method on how to proceed rather than making some empty rhetoric and going iwth the flow. Bush was an aberration in the American military strategy not the norm.
One interesting explanation is the diffrentiation between Insurgents and terrorists and ofcourse the way you tackle that - using counterterrorim or counterinsurgency.
Traditionally people confuse the two because in a way people think terrorists and insurgents are really kind of similar, but Kilcullen and these COIN experts draw a functional distinction. A terrorist group draws its ability to operate, its freedom of movement, in a military sense its center of gravity, from the tightness of its network: Clandestine cells that are secret, that operate together, that have access to resources and conduct terrorist activity. They don't have any social base to work from as support.
Insurgents are not like that. Insurgents draw their freedom of movement and their strength and their ability to operate from their ability to manipulate and mobilize a social base. So the terrorist hides within the broader society. The insurgent manipulates and rides a social wave. The social wave can be because of grieances of the local population or the backlash from the local population and then create that cycle of recrutriment and backlash
So when you talk about COIN and population centric operations, then protecting the population becomes an INTEGRAL part of the military ops. Not some whishy washy HR issue. Protecting the population and working with it is necessary to stop the insurgents frrom intimidating the locals. The population don't have to love you, but they should learn to respect you. And eventually make the population self defending getting the locals involved in security ops.
I particularly liked the description of "chicken hawks"(arm chair startegists who focus on hawkish heavy handed tactics without feild experience) he uses to dismiss using a brutalising way of doing COIN particularly when a forieng country which is a democracy is intervening in another country like the US is doing. In otherwords, brutalising your way through an insurgency is more difficult than going via a population centric COIN strategy. More importantly 80% of COIN have been won. And after looking at what things work, these people have come down with a summary of what worked and what didnt.
What we are looking at in naxal areas, NE and Kashmir is COIN ops. The army is well versed in COIN ops and hence has a good rapport with the locals particularly in Poonch and Rajouri areas. J&K police also has a an alirght COIN force and have worked in partnership with the army.
The CRPF however seems to be ill-trained with COIN startegies. Particularly when you look at naxal areas. Enemy centric stategies will not work because what we are facing in the naxal areas is an insurgency. And brute force will be counter productive which the Americans learnt the hard way. Also the IAF has not been used effectively till now. Itsnot about just bombing insurgents hideouts. IAF plays an important role in logistics and manovering in the hinterland andmoving around troops. So Air force is also an important role in COIN but not in the traditional role of just bombing all of over the place.
There are many other nuggets of wisdom but I strongly suggest going through the videos, atleast the first one to undestand what we are talking about.
A summary from a COIN paper from the brookings institute http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Fil...y_davidson.pdf Principles of American COIN
(1)A long-term political strategy focused on creating a viable, sustainable stability – through building or enhancing local government effectiveness and legitimacy – while marginalizing insurgents and winning over their sympathizers.
(2)An integrated civilian-military effort based on a common assessment of the situation and which synchronizes development, governance and security efforts to support the political strategy. COIN is said to be 80% political, 20% military. COIN is an operational concept that proceeds along four lines of operation – combat operations, the provision of essential services to the population, the training and equipping of host nation security forces, and the strengthening of the economy and government of the host state.
(3)Population-centric security founded on the presence of security forces (military and/or police), local community partnerships, self-defending populations, and small-unit operations that keep the enemy off balance and make the people feel safe. Counterinsurgency focuses on the population, rather than the enemy, because while the enemy is fluid, the population is fixed.
(4)A strong emphasis on building effective and legitimate local security forces, balanced by the ability to provide direct security to the population (engaging the enemy in direct combat where needed) while these security forces are being built. Effective counterinsurgency requires indigenous security forces that are legitimate in local eyes, operate under the rule of law, and can effectively protect local communities
(5)A region-wide approach that disrupts insurgent safe havens, controls borders and frontier regions, and undermines terrorist infrastructure in neighboring countries (which requires alliances with regional allies to be most effective). The most favorable environment to the counterinsurgent is an isolated environment.
(6)A Host Nation government, that has a basic level of legitimacy among the population and is willing to make appropriate adjustments to address root causes of the insurgency. Success in COIN is enhanced when a host nation is willing to examine and recognize local grievances. The basic pre-existing bureaucratic structures of governance should be built on and enhanced by the intervening advisors to build a viable peace based on the rule of law. Host governments not willing to address grievances or adjust practices based on external assistance will contribute to the problem, not the solution in an insurgency.
l Emphasis on intelligence.
l Focus on population, their needs, and security.
l Secure areas established, expanded.
l Insurgents isolated from population (population control).
l Single authority (charismatic/dynamic leader).
l Effective, pervasive psychological operations (PSYOP) campaigns.
l Amnesty and rehabilitation for insurgents.
l Police in lead; military supporting.
l Police force expanded, diversified.
l Conventional military forces reoriented forcounterinsurgency.
l Special Forces, advisers embedded with indigenous forces.
l Insurgent sanctuaries denied.
Unsuccessful l Primacy of military direction of counterinsurgency.
l Priority to “kill-capture” enemy, not on engaging population.
l Battalion-size operations as the norm. l Military units concentrated on large bases for protection.
l Special Forces focused on raiding.
l Adviser effort a low priority in personnel assignment.
l Building, training indigenous army in image of U.S. Army.
l Peacetime government processes. l Open borders, airspace, coastlines.
one thing you are forgeting Ejaz sir that usa had requisite boots on the ground in IRAQ.And Iraq was center of WOT not afghanistan. can you provide me the total number of civilian casualities in IRAQ in WOT which i say still mounting.And iraq is sitll volatile with all those sucide bombing still going on.
Totally agree with you that Iraq was a bloody war. And I was in no way justifying it, I was and still am opposed to it completely and hold that attacking Iraq was the worst possible thing to do.
But after the intial confusion, the Americans were able to adapt and finally they have conlcuded combat ops. They have a pro-Ameircan govt. in Iraq and will have remaing US troops "indefintiely". Also note that a lot of Iraqi civilians were killed in secratarian violence as well.
Eventually, working with Sunni tribal leaders and Kurds and Shias they were able to bring about some sort of normalcy. Otherwise in mid 2000s you had a bombing were 60+ people were dying almost every week. Comapred to that the security situation is much improved.
And having learnt those lessons in Iraq, it would be natural to assume they will reapply them in Afghanistan. Hence you see a big focus on denying santuaries as well in Pakistan as part of their COIN efforts. Negotiations with the insurgents to divide them is also an important winning strategy which they are doing with the Taliban.
Ofcourse we won't until another 10-15 years from now to see how sucessfull they were but the work they have done in quantifying all previous such insurgencies is pretty impressive.
Well loss or win is based on what the perception is that the US is trying to do. Its going to be increasingly complicated to have a binary finish of total victory or total loss. In any case, I dont want to focus on that but the principles and success strategies on COIN based on studies and field experience.
For example, coming back to the population centric doctrine. If the security forces are not trained in the importance of how to tackle COIN, they will end up aggravating the problem. Killing enemies although an important part is less important than protecting the population in a cOIN scenario.
An example sited was PA doing COIN in the FATA regions, where a army convoy was passing through a village that was neutral or atbest moving towards being pro-government. The insurgents ambushed the convoy near that village and in retaliation the army shelled the village in reprisal attacks. Result, the village was anti-government once again.
Another example is Budgam in Kashmir, a pro-India rural mostly shia district in Kashmir valley that had seen almost no protests for the entire summer. Then some smart sepratists went to Budgam and hijacked the anti-Quran protests that finally brought on Budgam residents onto the street and about 11 peopel were killed in firing by police/CRPF. Result anti-government sentiment raised in Budgam as well.
A more recent example is the BSF barging in a school that had teachers and students defying separatist shutdown orders to go to school. Something that would be considered pro-government. By beating up these kids for stone pelting incidents of a few, you have alienated those who actually went to school defying separatist shutdown. BSF storms Govt school in Sangrama. This shows that para-military forces need better training and probably a better recruitment and salary hike to attract better candidates.
Right now, security to the population and pro-government or neutral people is especially important. Houses of police officers and mainstream parties are being burnt and pro-government people are facing social boycott. In that situation, these people should be assured that the security forces will stand behind 100% to protect the local population. Not alienate them in fighting the enemy which is a secondary objective as compared to protecting the population.
A news article that provides an example of Naxalites and the importance of population centric startegy and the drawbacks of not putting the population first.
NAGPUR: Like the villagers and their children, even ashramshala teachers in Gadchiroli claimed they were l hemmed in between the Naxalites and the security forces. As their work takes them to remotest part of the Naxal-affected district, meeting both the arch rivals is nothing unusual for the teachers while staying at ashramshalas in villages surrounded by the jungle.
Having to face both the parties, an ashramshala teacher, on the condition of anonymity, said it seemed easier for him to deal with Naxalites rather than central paramilitary forces. He had to officially lodge a complaint with a senior police official and also wrote about his plight to higher-ups in his own department.
The teacher claimed that he never got the respect from security forces. "I cannot recall an instance when the Naxals misbehaved or were rude with me. In fact, they requested the teachers to ensure that the students were well looked after and educated. The Naxals told me to take care of the students as my own," said a senior ranking teacher of an ashramshala located in sensitive Dhanora tehsil.
He recalled several instances when chance encounters brought him face to face with the Naxals. "They (naxals) come in a big group of 100-150 equipped with arms. One would shiver seeing them emerging from jungle but they show respect to us," said the teacher who was in city recently. At the same time, he said encounters with central paramilitary forces, usually ended on an unpleasant note.
"The paramilitary forces would summon me every time a new officer would come. They would accuse us of providing food and other supplies to Naxals and helping them to survive in jungles. Do they have any concrete evidence before charging government officials in this manner," said the senior teacher of ashramshala located close to Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh borders.
He also shared the plight of another colleague in another ashramshala, also in Dhanora tehsil. "The security forces would not allow my colleague to take wheat to flour mill suspecting him to be carrying it for the Naxals. I was questioned too while returning to the village with grains and spice for consumption of the students," he said.
Another ashramshala teacher, however, begged to differ. He said that Naxal violence had created an atmosphere where education of tribals was getting affected. According to him, teachers remain away from schools because of incidents like that in Sawargaon. "Such cat and mouse chase between Naxals and security forces take place anywhere," he said.
"Naxals may not kill a teacher but who can guarantee that his or her life is safe in sensitive places. We have had an incident of an ashramshala teacher stripped and raped in the school itself. The teachers are in perennial danger as government urges us to celebrate Independence day and Republic Days but Naxals come threatening us. Who says that Naxals do not kill the villagers," he asked.
There is nothing for INDIA to learn from the west, in this case of counter insurgency. We have alot to learn from the "VIETNAM ARMY". Well one thing we can learn from the west is that hitech technology is of not much use against the counter insurgents. I agree that hitech technology is very useful in counter insurgency operations, but not in all occassions. Here comes the need of some advanced guerilla warfare which we can and have to learn from the VIETNAMEESE.