Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Countering Left Wing Extremism (LWE):Ministries differ over use of Armed Forces

Posted in Uncategorized on 11 June 2010 by indiasecuritymonitor

 An important Cabinet Committee on Security meeting to decide the employment of the Armed Forces against the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) just concluded. Reports suggested that the meeting ended inconclusively. There were major differences between the Home and Defence Ministries over the employment of the Armed Forces. The differences arose over the following issues: 

 Employment of Special Forces. The Home Ministry is pressing for the deployment of Special Forces while the Defence Ministry is of the view, and correctly so, that the Special Forces cannot be rushed in since employment of Special Forces has to be done in a fool-proof manner.       

Special Forces are special. And to make them special takes time, resources, effort and immense training. Since they are special, they are also less in numbers and thus must be; used sparingly; used for high value targets; used for targets which cannot be taken on by the regular infantry; used by the highest authority and with maximum guarantee of success. Precise intelligence must preclude the employment of these forces. Failsafe measures must be instituted for the insertion and extraction of these troops.  These are some of the principles for the employment of Special Forces. So how does this apply in the context of LWE? It is obvious from these principles, that in the current LWE context, the security forces are far from being able to use Special Forces. Neither do the security forces have the intelligence required to launch them, nor does the infrastructure for insertion/extraction in terms of secure dropzones or helipads exist. Special Forces operate in small teams. Small teams are able to achieve better stealth and cover more distances than the regular army. However, if surrounded, they risk the chances of getting decimated. Take our minds back to the Dantewada incident of April where 76 CRPF jawans were massacred. The event was a major victory for the LWE – a coming-of-age event. Imagine the embarassment and loss of morale for the government if the same group had been a small team of crack Army Special Forces Commandoes. While they would have accounted for a larger number of LWEs, few if any would have survived if surrounded by hundreds of well armed and motivated LWEs.       

Deployment of Major Generals as advisors. The Home Ministry has asked for Major Generals to be posted as advisors to the CMs in a Unified Area Command. The Defence Ministry has opposed it as saying that officers of the rank of Major Generals are too senior to be posted as advisors. Possibly what the Army is trying to bring out is that there are harldly any Major Generals to spare. Also given the nature of the counter-LWE operations, the advisor will be expected to be on the move and on the ground viewing operations, meeting troops, locals and government authorities and then reporting his findings to the CMs and using his experience to recommend and advise the state goverment on the nature of the operations to be conducted. A Major General would actually be too senior for this kind of quasi-advisory role.           

Deployment of Rashtriya Rifles (RR). The Defence Ministry says it simply does not have enough men to transfer or to raise new battalions in Naxal-hit states. This seems to be an euphemism for saying that come what may, Armed Forces, that is what the RR is comprised off, will not be used for tackling the LWE.         

Use of Armed Forces for Demining Operations. Demining operations in the army are biased towards demining of classical minefields which are laid as per mine warfare international conventions and marked with barbed wire fences. The so-called demining operations that the Home Ministry is referring to is the clearance of the road and tracks of the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) which are causing so many casualties. For a better understanding of how IED warfare is conducted, click here. The crux of the Home Ministry requirement is giving the CRPF the ability to detect the IED, which is more a function of drills, procedures and tactical discipline rather than technological capability. Once an IED is detected on a road, the road is simply closed to all traffic till the demining team reaches the location and clears it. In case demining teams are not available, the IED is simply blown away by the regular soldier using another explosive kept close to it. Thus while some assistance in training the CRPF in demining is essential, deployment of army for demining is not. Further the demining troops too require protection and the Army would be reluctant to place its troops under the protection of the paramilitary forces.   

Air Support. Unfortunately for the Home Ministry, the Air Force too is equally reluctant to provide air support as required by them. The rationale being that this would be tantamount to the direct use of the Air Force since if the aircrafts were fired at, they would be forced to fire back. The other reason is that the Air Force is unable to ‘spare’ helicopters for this task. UAVs would however be made available. Air Force resources in India are limited. Further, contrary to public and Home Ministry perceptions, air power has limited utility in the current counter-LWE context.   

Training of Paramilitary Forces. This is the only point where the services have whole heartedly agreed. In fact the army has apparently agreed to attach police officers to RR battalions for six-month tenures to train them.   

The ISM Team viewpoint. ISM is of the view that the Defence Ministry is on the right lines. The Home Ministry must accept the fact that the ball lies squarely on their shoulders along with the states. Initial proactivism on the part of the Home Minister seems to have backfired since public perception puts the onus of responsibility of fighting primarily on the Central Government and on the State Governments only as an afterthought. The present tussle seems an unseemly attempt by the Home Ministry to palm off the responsibility to the Armed Forces.

Advertisements

Taleban And Naxalites – Ghosts of Tribal Neglect (via The Eastern Horizon)

Posted in Uncategorized on 10 June 2010 by indiasecuritymonitor

Kedar, a blogger has listed five similarities between the Taliban and the Naxals. He then goes on to explain the origins of the tribal neglect and how this neglect came to become instituitionalised. The issue is contentious and not necessarily correct – however debate on this aspect – the origins of institutionalised neglect – needs dwelling upon.

On May 28, an attack by Taleban faction on mosque in Pakistan killed 80 people. On the same day one deliberate act of train derailment by Naxalites in India killed about the same number of people. The two movements have different objective and have followed different paths and trajectories. Yet there is something similar about them. – Both have originated in tribal areas. These areas neglected by the urban centered administration. – Both movement … Read More

via The Eastern Horizon

The View from Across the Razor Wires

Posted in Uncategorized on 9 June 2010 by indiasecuritymonitor

The article reproduced below was published in the Kashmir Times of 8 Jun 2010 by Sana Altaf and provides a poignant perspective of the hardships caused to the common people of the Valley due to the visit of the Prime Minister. On a broader view it highlights the need for a humane approach to security.

Piercing razor wires: So much for zero tolerance!

SANA ALTAF

SRINAGAR, June 7: On the day that prime minister Manmohan Singh visited the city, the CRPF blocked a foot bridge by three full rounds of razor wires.

Piercing! Menacing! Hostile! This is not just about the look of the wires but that is what these end up doing to people. They can humiliate and cause wounds. They can injure both the body and the soul. As they did on Monday, when prime minister visited the summer capital.

Small injuries from razor wires and barricades or bit humiliation at the hands of the security personnel manning the streets may be very small in comparison to the long list of human rights abuse but it just goes unnoticed.

Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. Having tasted the ugliness of the razor wires on my way, a realization dawned that it is not altogether such a trivial matter.

As I moved from my home towards my office, couple of unsheltered grocery shops with occasional movement of vehicles and pedestrians gave me some courage to walk alone from home towards Lal Chowk through foot bridge.

Security personnel stood at every meter of my walk, the parked security vehicles added to the tense environment. Though I had a fearless comfortable walk up to the foot bridge, I was trapped in the rounds of razor wires. Having walked up the stairs of the bridge, I was brought to a grinding halt. Perplexed and confused I stopped before the three full rounds of razor wires that were put up to restrict the movement of people across the bridge as part of security arrangements for safety of PM. I failed to understand why a razor wire on this obscure bridge far away from the places the prime minister was visiting could make him secure.

I stood before the wires, hoping for the security personnel deployed at the bridge to lift the wires to ease the obstructions. However, they neither stopped me crossing the bridge, nor did they help me remove the wire. Within a while I was joined by two elderly women and two men. We all stood before the wires, still waiting for security personnel to ease our trouble, but in vain.

Sure of the insensitivity of the troops, we hurtfully began making way through the razor wires, helping each other remove the wires digging into our hands and legs through clothes. Since the wires were put skillfully and firmly, lifting those became impossible. One by one five of us crossed the wires, all wounded and hurt with bleeding hands and legs.

Watching this happen, the security personnel took pleasure joking, laughing and passing indecent comments on us all. Though we tried to overlook the remarks which seemed endless, we all were hurt physically and emotionally. “We are slaves in our own nation,” said one of the elderly women walking with me while we crossed the bridge. All of us were heading for Lal Chowk, so preferred to walk together. It felt safe that way. Who knows how many hurdles we were expecting to cross at that time?

“I have been walking on the foot bridge to reach my office every working day or for that matter during strike days also. Never had I faced any problem in past, as I did today,” said Nayeema. The others who took the same bridge today echo similar experiences.

While lakhs of people were made hostage in most of city through undeclared curfew, those out had to bear the brunt of fool proof security arrangements. A cruel joke in the face of the promise by the prime minister about zero tolerance to human rights abuse.

On our way to Lal Chowk, they all talked about the brutalities by security forces. One of the men accompanying us, Ghulam Mohiddin said, “We are forced by circumstances to move out on these curfew days. Otherwise we would prefer staying home than get hurt both physically and emotionally. Indian government wants safety for themselves not for us.” Their anger and bitterness poured out in bursts.

Feeling equally hurt, humiliated and angry, I restrained from making any comments, yet the burning sensation of the wound I received from the razor wire and equal sensation on my soul gave me unrest all day long.

 

Text of the PMs Speech at SKUAST-K

Posted in Uncategorized on 8 June 2010 by indiasecuritymonitor

The PM visited Shere Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir on 7th Jun 10 for the 5th Convocation Ceremony.

Links to the reports are given below:

The Official PMO link: http://pmindia.nic.in/lspeech.asp?id=931

J&K Local News: www.dailyexcelsior.com

The Pak View: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010%5C06%5C07%5Cstory_7-6-2010_pg7_1

 

How Iron Mines led to the Land Mines

Posted in Uncategorized on 7 June 2010 by indiasecuritymonitor

Two reports in the Times of India of 5 Jun 10 highlight a major cause for the alienation of the tribals of the Red Corridor – mining. The first by Shankar Raghuraman takes a detailed look at the economics behind the iron ore mining business in the Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand areas. He writes that:

At the turn of the millennium in 2001-01, India exported iron ore worth a measly Rs 358 crore. By 2008-09, that figure was up to Rs 21,725 crore, a sixty-fold jump in just seven years.

Driving this export of ore were several factors. One was the decanalisation of exports of ore with an iron content of 64% or less in the late 1990s. The other was China’s seemingly insatiable appetite for iron ore in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As a result, the international price of ore — with 63% iron content — soared to $200 per tonne in March 2008, more than four times the price five years ago.

Indian ore exporters thus had a ready and profitable market. The icing on the cake was provided by the royalty rates charged by the government. The rates fixed in October 2004 varied from as little as Rs 4 per tonne for low-grade ore to a maximum of Rs 27 per tonne for the highest grades. There was also no export duty.

To see what this meant, check out what the Karnataka Lok Ayukta had to say on the allegations of illegal mining in the Bellary region of the state. Its report submitted in December 2008 pointed out that when the export price was hovering around Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000 per tonne, the state government was getting between Rs 16 and Rs 27 by way of royalty. The extraction cost to the miner was, by the state’s own admission, of the order of Rs 150 per tonne. The Lok Ayukta noted that even if the transportation cost was estimated at Rs 250 per tonne, the total cost for the exporter would be not more than Rs 427 per tonne.

Since the export price of the ore even in a slump was never lower than Rs 1,500 per tonne, that would leave a neat profit of Rs1,073 per tonne. Out of this, the state was getting at best Rs 27.

So outraged was the Lok Ayukta by these calculations, that the report went on to advocate a complete ban not just on export of ore but also on its trading, saying it should be reserved only for captive mining by domestic steel producers.

Truly ironic!

The second report by Rajeev Deshpande highlights the PMO’s role in setting right the wrongs in the proposed mines and minerals bill.

The attempts to turn the clock back on the bill are seen to be rooted in its provision that 26% of profits earned by mining companies be used for the benefit of those affected by mines. This is seen to be in step with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s inclusive agenda as it addresses the view that alienation pushes tribals towards Maoist ranks.

The profit-sharing clause has worried mining lobbies and though some queries were raised on whether 26% was too high a slice to be hived off, senior law ministry sources said this was not an issue. Profit sharing would counter the argument that Naxalism was the result of an exploitative state. How the 26% was to be utilised would be defined in rules accompanying the legislation’s notification.

It remains to be seen how the bill finally turns out and then it remains to be seen whether the proposed 26% will ever reach the tribals.

Army ‘reluctant’ to take on Naxals directly

Posted in Uncategorized on 6 June 2010 by indiasecuritymonitor

An Indian Express news report suggests that the Army is reportedly ‘too stretched’ to take on the Naxals. This is quite likely since the army is guarding every possible land frontier of the nation which has two major adversaries. In addition it is tackling insurgencies in J&K and in the North Eastern states.

Of Landmines, Journalists and MPVs

Posted in Uncategorized on 5 June 2010 by indiasecuritymonitor

It is heartening to see young soldiers of the Fourth Estate writing about ground realities and reporting the conditions of the troops at the frontline. Such reporting is essential for raising voices to assist the security forces as also to inform and educate the public at large. One such anonymous television journalist has filed a detailed blog about the futility of the use Mine Protected Vehicles (MPVs) in Dantewada. This post takes the opportunity to clarify certain issues with regards to landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and some basic tactics used by the army in J&K and North East to counter them. Let us understand how a landmine or IED works in the counter-insurgency scenario.   Continue reading