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Anti-Naxal Offensive To Be Intelligence-Based: Chidambaram. Huh?

By Trevor Selvam

29 November, 2009

It has been heard that the gnome-like, perpetually-blue-turbaned Indian PM, who was visibly stunned and overwhelmed by the Hollywood gala arranged for him in DC ( and cannot stop waving his hand until told to stop), has given some serious advice to his sidekick, the former lawyer for the Enron’s in India, Mr. Chidambaram (PCC).

The Background

The PM knows that the Bankrupt Big Brothers (BBB) in this world (or the G7 if you would) can still call the shots by issuing bonds and printing money and would very much like India to be on her best behaviour, to be a wedge against that runaway superpower, China. Yes, China, buys the bonds so the US can have cash to buy the goods from China for cheap, so US workers have no jobs, an arrangement that is nearly as schizoid and perplexing as the cuckoo’s nest. China, they do not trust. India, they could, provided India nods its head quietly from time to time on screwing the Iranians, the Palestinians, occasionally the Russians (former “natural friends”) and even its former “third world” non-aligned partners from the past, and also simultaneously shimmy-ing up to the Israelis on intelligence, rocketry, underhanded arms deals and counter-insurgency operations. Of course Pakistan is such a disaster-struck nation, that BBB has advised the PM to relax on the western border and not aggravate Pakistan’s paranoia and its already out of control terror-sponsorship.

India has enough foreign exchange reserves to bail out the IMF once in a while, by buying gold from it (never mind the fact that it also has to import food again, using the same reserves, after so many years) and being in the good books of the BBB. And of course also slyly nudge the price of gold up, slightly, as a side benefit.

The Indian ruling class are dependent, servile, but also manoeuvring and self-serving. They serve the BBB well, but they have their own plans. The Indian ruling class do have a trick or two up their sleeves. They have the washing-machine-cum-dryer crazy ugly-rich who have the purchasing power parity (PPP- or the Power to Piss on the Poor) to regenerate the collapsing neo-liberalized world commodity market and save the pickled posteriors of the G7. So, India’s behaviour is being watched and even controlled in order for India to play a significant role in offsetting the influence of China.

Words Of Caution

So, PM Manmohan Singh (MS) has some words of caution for his Home Minister PC Chidambaran (PCC) as he covertly initiates his continuously postponed Operations against the Naxalite-Maoists in the 15 or so provinces of India. MS would like PCC to understand that BBB is keen that India’s PPP is useful for the G7 to pull it out of the CCC (Continued Capitalist Crisis).

The advice is the following:

-Tone down the law and order rhetoric. Up the “root cause” rhetoric. That is, talk about “development” as your troops empty their magazines on the tribals. Talk White, don’t be a Negro! That is what southern plantation owners in pre-civil war US would tell their Uncle Toms.

-Talk about “neglect of tribals” when you burn down the villages and hamletize.

-Talk about “past abdication of responsibility of the government” when you herd women into stockades and occasionally let loose your repressed Indo Tibetan Border Force, the CRPF, The Cobra Force and other outfits onto them.

-Turn down the rhetoric, about “Operations” and quietly launch the assault on the Maoist enclaves in tri-junction areas of provinces and displace the tribes into adjoining provinces, one state at a time. In small spurts. Less publicity. Physically evacuate the forests and fence the people in, so you can sort out the good from the bad. The wheat from the chaff, the fish from the water. This will create animosity amongst the provinces and even amongst the tribes, as India’s first citizens become displaced persons (DPs) in their own country. This has already started happening in districts of Andhra adjoining Orissa and districts of Maharashtra and Chattisgarh.

-Talk less about military operations and talk more about Intelligence-bound operations. Huh? Military Intelligence! I thought that that oxymoron had been clichéd out, years ago! Well, PCC has revived it.

Intelligent Delay? Or Delayed Intelligence?

Once slated for start up in October, then pushed to November, then December and now Green Hunt will be started in January, by the time the elections in Jharkhand are settled. Why is there such a postponement? Apart from the significant and well-articulated opposition amongst India’s civic society leaders (there will be an important public meeting in New Delhi on December 4th, where Supreme court lawyers, judges, writers, economists, academics, civil rights activists will be speaking) there is one more reason. It has been reliably learned that some of the semi-retired, bravado-spewing cops who are training these counter-insurgency special forces in “jungle warfare”, as they refer to it, have clearly stated that Cobra, Python, Rattle, Boa or Viper, they are not ready in large enough numbers to swarm the Naxalites. When MS and PCC woke up to find out about the Maoists, two years ago, they had around 5,000 fighters. And perhaps 20,000 sympathizers. With all the Operations that have been carried out officially and unofficially, there are reports that they now have over 250,000 sympathizers. Much of what is said about the Maoists ‘military strength is exaggerated. It is not their numbers that matter, however. India already has the largest armed police force in the world. The BSF and CRP are the largest para-military force in the world. So why is such a large force being freshly inducted and trained to go to battle against the Maoists? Because they have now realized belatedly that the Maoists are the tribals (nearly twenty percent of India’s population), they are Indians like you and me, they are not foreigners, and they are not bearded jihadists or Asiatic looking Manipuris and “hostile” Nagas (as they used to be called). When it came to the North east and Kashmir, the insurgents were anybody who did not look like Punjabis, Dogras, Jats, Mahrattis, Biharis, Madrassis--the “regular Indians.” Now there is a problem! The entire triangular belly of India is composed of primarily aboriginal people. And they are turning away from Delhi’s rule over them. How will you sort out the good tribal from the bad tribal? Besides, for those who are more historically inclined and have looked up past upsurges like in Algeria, China, Vietnam and even Iraq, will know that mobile guerrillas walk and move to a different tune than your regular army. When an Army crosses a river, it is visible for miles around, no matter how highly trained they are. A small guerrilla band can effectively deal with them, effortlessly, by collapsing the roads and the bridges. So, when a regular Army moves, it must make a wide sweep with thousands of troops to strategically sanitize its route. This will not work in the forest of Gadhricholi, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand or Junglemahal. So you need troops who can move in forests, wade through rivers and more importantly have the knowledge about local dialects and language. Who will be the spotters for these troops? Of course there is the Salwa Judum solution, which has already proved itself to be a monumental failure, increasing the ranks of the Maoists considerably. So, PCC knows or has realized that you need an “intelligent” force to deal with the Naxalites. Because the Naxalites are an intelligent enemy and they are as fiercely patriotic as anybody else, if not more! PCC has an Intelligence problem! Or, perhaps a deficit?

Speaking at the 44th Raising Day celebrations of the Border Security Force , Chidambaram said, "I expect the BSF to hone the skills and tactics that were developed by it during the anti-militancy and counter-insurgency operations and adopt to the new conditions that they will face in the Naxal-affected areas.
"In these areas, operations have to be intelligence-based and (security forces) have to secure the support of the community and people living in those areas," the Home minister said.

Now how do you do that? You come with drones overhead (this is now publicly acknowledged by the Indian government that the Maoists are in such densely forested areas, where no roads exist, that the government is sending drones to spot warm bodies by imaging) and how do you shake hands with the tribals when you are spotting them like fleeing deer from your vantage point in the clouds? It is no longer a secret that Bankrupt Big Brother is assisting in the technological aspects, after succesfully killing hundreds of "AfPak" civilians, while operating the drones. So, how do you win over the support of half-naked, starving people 5,000 feet below on the ground?

If the BSF, the EFR, the CRPF and also the Cobra (whose much ballyhooed nose got bloodied badly by the Maoists recently) knew how to do community work, put women in command, with respect, in all significant operations, help with digging canals, distributing rations, setting up health care centers, helping with harvests, quadrupling minimum wages and selling price of tendu leaves, protecting tribal lands and people from contractors and police, not occupying the smattering of schools that there are, then the Maoists would become redundant. Because that is what the Maoist have been doing for over twenty five years and have built up their “base” areas. That is what “intelligence” is all about.

I have news for PCC. The Maoist have been on the ground for over twenty five years. If you want to get “intelligence” going about the conditions on the ground, talk to them. Your super-cop trained counter-insurgency troopers and Special Police Officers will survive a few weeks or even a few months and then they will start killing each other, as happened in Vietnam, when BBB tried to organize various tribes against the NLF and eventually they all ended up taking the boat to California when the NLF stormed Saigon.

What MS is telling PCC, is make sure that you don’t give the country bad publicity, when you go on the rampage. Make sure you “win over” the people first! Make sure, you make it look good when your troops manhandle, murder, fake-encounter and maraud the tribal nation. Do it with “intelligence.” Because BBB is watching. And that is what PCC is mildly bringing up with the troops.


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