No takers for military advisers in red bastions

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Jun 2, 2013.



    Sep 22, 2012
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    Detroit MI
    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has often termed the Maoists India’s biggest internal security threat and both the Centre and violence-hit states recognise the fight is partly military.

    Yet, the UPA-ruled Centre and the Opposition-ruled Chhattisgarh (BJP), Odisha (BJD), Jharkhand (till recently BJP) and West Bengal (TMC) are sitting tight on a 2010 proposal to have military advisers to coordinate anti-Maoist battles.

    This information comes ahead of a meeting of chief ministers of nine Maoist-hit states with Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officials scheduled for June 5 to chalk out a strategy to check the growing violence, against the backdrop of the audacious May 25 rebel attack in Bastar in Chhattisgarh that left 27 dead, including key state Congress leaders.

    Mooted by Shinde’s predecessor P Chidambaram, the MHA proposed appointing retired Indian Army Major Generals as military advisers to the four worst-hit states to direct central security forces and state police in the offensive and defensive operations, military style.

    On a request from MHA, first made in June 2010, the Indian Army prepared a panel of names of retired Major Generals having vast experience in guerrilla warfare and counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, Northeast, and in Sri Lanka during the IPKF campaign in late 1980s.

    That panel was sent to the MHA at least half a dozen times since, but to no avail. “The list of names was last sent three-four months ago…that is, sometime early this year. We haven’t heard from either the MHA or the four state governments to the latest communication too,” a senior Defence Ministry official told The Sunday Standard.

    The proposal was obviously mooted in the wake of the worst-ever attack that was witnessed in Dantewada in April 2010, when 76 security personnel sent into the Chhattisgarh forests to fight the Maoists were massacred in a well-planned ambush by the armed-to-the-teeth rebels.

    “That 2010 attack gave the policy-makers the insight that this fight is not going to be easy without a military angle in the anti-Maoist thrust in the states. That was when the proposal to have military advisers directing the operations and coordinating among the Centre, states and the security forces was mooted,” noted a MHA official, who did not wish to be named.

    Since Chidambaram moved out of the MHA in July 2012, there seems to be not much of an emphasis on the need to have military approach to the security men’s operations against the armed rebels, he added.

    “The four states too have not responded on appointment of military advisers from among the panel sent to them,” the official said, indicating that politics could have something to do with their cold-shouldering the MHA move.

    But the importance of military advisers to help make the security operations effective was emphasised by retired Lieutenant General Mukesh Sabharwal, a former Adjutant General of the Indian Army and an officer with vast counter-insurgency (C-I) and guerrilla warfare experience in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East.

    “There are a number of problems plaguing the anti-Maoist operations of the central and state police forces. These include poor command and control structures of the forces, inadequate equipment, and lack of leadership,” Sabharwal, who has commanded an Army corps in the North East, pointed out.

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