The Naxalite Rebellions

"A Scholar's Take" in white text above a white pen outline

The Naxalite Rebellions

India has become in recent decades a critical if still informal American strategic partner. Both countries share democratic and free market values, and both have a keen interest in countering terrorism and managing China’s rise. Both Republican and Democratic administrations since the end of the Cold War have understood India’s importance and have encouraged closer relations, and Indian governments have responded positively.

At the same time, relations in non-security related areas have blossomed. U.S. exports of goods and services to India have increased by 490 percent since 2000, reaching $33 billion in 2011. Indian exports (goods and services) to the United States have increased by 238 percent since 2000, and totaled $36.2 billion in 2011, making India the 13th-largest supplier of goods to the United States in 2011. That same year, U.S. foreign investment in India reached $27 billion, a 30 percent increase from 2009, making up the lion’s share of all foreign investment in India. The 2005 U.S.-India civilian nuclear cooperation deal cemented energy and security ties, and most Indians and Americans have high favorable ratings for each other. According to a 2012 Pew Research poll, 50 percent of Americans trust India, while only 26 percent trust China and just 10 percent trust Pakistan. Similarly, 55 percent of the Indian population approves of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts, a very high number compared to nearly all other countries.

India’s strategic value to the United States in the long term, however, depends on its stability and reliability, and here there are questions if not exactly problems. As to reliability, some critics note that while India voted for International Atomic Energy Agency’s sanctions against Iran, it continues to buy Iran’s oil to the tune of some $11 billion annually. Stability is the more serious issue: India is threatened by the existence within its borders of 300 million people who are under anyone’s definition of a poverty line, and its social problems are largely responsible for a spate of domestic insurgencies, some of them aggressively supported by Pakistan and others passively by China.

The most virulent and resolute of these insurgencies, however, cannot be viewed through the lens of India-Pakistan rivalry. What started as a communist peasant revolt in the 1960s has now morphed into an amalgam of ethnic, caste and class-anchored political violence across a red corridor from Bihar to Delhi. China may support some of these rebellions (hard evidence is somewhat elusive), but their sources are overwhelmingly domestic. These so-called Naxalites have terrorized the “Other India” for years, but the recent wave of Naxalite terror is murdering politicians, recruiting child soldiers, overwhelming the police and scaring international investors. Rebels now control areas with key natural resources (timber, coal and natural gas), prompting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare the Naxalites India’s “biggest internal security challenge.” As a consequence, the government expanded India’s counterinsurgency force by 80,000 in 2012, with plans to redeploy 3,000 from Kashmir to the northeast. Last year India’s Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde declared that “terrorism and Naxalism are shadowing the glory of Mother India.” The Global Terrorism Index 2012 ranks India in the top five terrorism-hit countries in the world, worse than Yemen, Somalia and Columbia in the number of incidents and fatalities.

Understandably, most Western terrorism analysts focus on Kashmiri insurgent groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad because of their links to al-Qaeda and their threat both to the American homeland and to U.S. personnel in Afghanistan. Yet an examination of India’s internal security situation reveals declining Kashmir-related, Pakistan-inflected violence in the west and increasing homemade violence in the east and south. Prime Minister Singh is correct: The Naxalite rebels are now causing more deaths than Kashmir-based terrorists. Just how bad could it get? And could Indo-U.S. cooperation play some role in ensuring that it does not get so bad as that?

India suffers a potpourri of deadly insurgencies. In the northwest are Pakistan-supported Kashmiri insurgents such as those associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba who have unleashed deadly but sporadic terror in Indian cities since the 1990s. In the northeast are Nagaland insurgents and in the southeast are remnants of LTTE (Tamil Tigers). There and elsewhere, however, are the Naxalites.

Naxalites are active in 18 of 28 Indian states, targeting security forces and civilians alike, and their activity is accelerating. From 2005 to 2010, the number of civilians killed in terrorist acts in Kashmir decreased by 93 percent, while civilians killed by Naxalites increased by 116 percent in the Indian state of Bihar, and increased by 6,460 percent in the state of West Bengal. But what do we mean by “Naxalite”? Is this one linked insurgency campaign or many unrelated ones? What is their unconventional order of battle, so to speak? How has the rebellion evolved over the years?

The name Naxalite comes from a small region in West Bengal, Naxalbari. Peasants rebelled against landlord oppression, and received the name Naxalwadi or Naxalite. It was a classic class-caste struggle. The Indian countryside and especially its more mountainous areas are inhabited by Hindu tribes that have long practiced a repressive caste system. Since before recorded history that system has designated Brahmins as landlords and Dalits (untouchables) as serfs. Unsurprisingly, Dalits filled the Naxalite ranks and the ranks of the Communist Party of India.

The Communist Party of India contested the very first elections in 1952. Amid ideological and other forms of discord, however, in 1964 the communists split into a left-wing faction that favored Mao’s Chinese model (revolutionary war strategy) and a more moderate wing that supported the mainstream ruling Congress Party, which pursued close relations with the Soviet Union. Maoist Naxalites sided with the Chinese in the China-India war of 1962 by flooding border towns with communist propaganda, providing human intelligence to the Chinese, and aspiring to foment a popular uprising.

The 1962 Maoist Naxalite revolt was short-lived, however. The Maoists planned a three-stage uprising that would entail creating an organization, safe areas, training grounds and eventually an army that could effectively challenge India’s military. The Central Committee provided rhetorical support, but had no viable strategy. The plan never got off the ground. Poor organization and lack of arms rendered the Maoists no match for heavily armed and police-supported landlords. The revolt ended before it could spread beyond a few villages.

About seven years after this setback, charismatic Naxalite leader Charu Mazumdar argued for a strategic assassination campaign, arguing that “annihilation of class enemies is the higher form of class struggle” and also the “primary stage of guerrilla struggle.”2 Its goal was to mitigate the hardships of the peasants by achieving four main objectives: replace landlord authority in villages with peasant authority; create “red terror” to scare landlords out of the villages; galvanize poor masses as leaders of the Naxalite movement; and boost recruitment. Despite some early successes, which included gaining control of several small villages, Indian troops again had decimated the rural Naxalite insurgency by 1971. The fate of the insurgents in urban areas, for example in West Bengal, was not much different. The police were well armed, and the insurgents failed to retain members, create safe guerilla zones, effective logistical networks or contingency plans.

The movement did a bit better during the late 1960s in urban areas. Taking cues from the Cultural Revolution next door, Calcutta’s Naxalites began a peaceful protest, attracting young elite college students. But the protests soon turned violent, and when they did the Calcutta police were initially overwhelmed. They soon got a grip on the situation, however, through torture and the recruitment of informers.

Besides a lack of intelligence, police action was hampered in Calcutta and elsewhere by a legal system that allowed insurgents to exploit legal due process. Consequently, parliament passed a counterterrorism law in 1971 in West Bengal that allowed arrest without warrant and detention without filing charges for an extended period of time. State governments relied on state police and border security forces, and called in paramilitary forces. By 1973, most Naxalite leaders, urban and otherwise, were either killed or behind bars, and over 32,000 Naxalites were imprisoned. Many of those killed were victims of “encounter” killings (extrajudicial murders). There were also abuses of the new counterterrorism law, which was exploited by some police and others—including armed pro-government neighborhood militias—to settle scores with individuals and some groups that had little, if any, association with Naxalite rebels. Many were forced to leave their homes under population resettlement schemes. In any event, amid the government’s anti-insurgency effort the Naxalite movement essentially disintegrated. Turmoil and introspection shaped Naxalite strategy, such as it was, in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.

Then, in the late 1970s, a new Naxalite organization called People’s War emerged. Its leader, Kondapallii Seetharamaiah, sought a more efficient structure to boost morale, recruitment and funding. By 1978, peasant revolts had spread to the Karimnagar and Adilabad districts; the major grievance was unpaid wages. Insurgents kidnapped landlords and forced them to confess to crimes, apologize to villagers and repay forced bribes. Beedi leaf (tobacco) collectors and coal miners, who received little pay, went on strike. Naxalite insurgents established a stronghold and sanctuary in the interlinked North Telangana village and Dandakaranya forests area.

From that base in 1985 Naxalite insurgents began ambushing police. After they killed a police sub-inspector in Warangal, the state responded by creating a special task force called the Greyhounds to establish control in the seven worst affected districts. In 1987, the Naxalite political party (People’s War) and other Maoist groups in Andhra Pradesh were barred from elections after kidnapped government officials were exchanged for Naxalite prisoners. The ban was briefly lifted in 1991. In December of that year, however, insurgent attacks increased, inviting additional central paramilitary forces in Telangana to augment state and federal government security forces. Besides brute force, the state also set up rival mass organizations to attract youth away from the Naxalites, started rehabilitation programs and established new informant networks. The new counterinsurgency strategy reduced violent incidents, and nearly 9,000 Naxalites surrendered. Consequently, in 1994 the ban on ostensibly moderate Naxalite political parties was lifted.

Apparently unbeknownst to the authorities, however, the Naxalite core had used that time to acquire heavy arms and explosives from the black market and Indian security forces. This enabled the insurgency to return full steam in the late 1990s. Recruitment increased as landlord militias abetted by the police committed widespread human rights abuses. Taking advantage of local support, the Naxalites created a united front: the People’s War, Party Unity and the Maoist Communist Center (MCC) combined to form the People’s War Group (PWG), which was superseded in 2004 by the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-M). At the same time they expanded control over natural resource rich areas (coal, gas, precious minerals and timber). Estimates suggest the Naxalites have extracted at least $18.4 million annually from government offices, contractors, businessmen and industrialists. They also collected taxes (extortion money, really) to fund weapons production, notably improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The Indian federal-state government disconnect has hampered recent counterinsurgency efforts. The federal and state home (interior) ministries supervise multiple police and intelligence agencies without much unity of effort or command. For example, in Operation Siddharth (Bihar) the government had limited success in applying a carrot and stick approach: paramilitary border security forces in seven districts helped the police, and millions were promised in economic development opportunities. Promises were broken and the December 2001 Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance further alienated Naxalite moderates, which derailed the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) campaign.

Under the Indian constitution states bear the responsibility for enforcing law and order. When required, however, the federal government can send troops, and it has done so to good effect on several occasions. But the better trained and equipped federal forces leave after clearing an area, enabling the Naxalites to simply come back and pick up where they left off. For example, during the state elections in Chhattisgarh in 2004 Delhi sent combat helicopters equipped with night-vision capabilities and hundreds of mine sweepers supported by 180 companies of paramilitary forces. The rebels disappeared. Once elections were concluded, however, the troops left and the Naxalites returned.

The gist of this history is clear enough: What began as mostly Dalit caste Maoist guerillas fighting a protracted war against the Indian state on behalf of exploited peasants has turned into a heterogeneous constellation that includes classic guerillas in villages, criminal gangs in cities and local militias with links to the more moderate Naxalite political parties. Naxalites still come in two categories: supporters of a violent overthrow of the government, and moderates who want change through a constitutional process.

But unlike the insurgency’s founders, today’s Naxalites are no Robin Hoods fighting rich and cruel landlords. Indeed, in some areas of the country they are worse than the landlords and security forces, pillaging villages, raping and murdering locals, recruiting child soldiers and dealing illicit drugs. In many cases they have become the enemies they claimed to be fighting decades ago. As with many protracted insurgencies, the Naxalites began as idealists and devolved into thugs fighting more for profit than ideology; the insurgent way of life gradually swallowed the cause. That is why the moderates, who embrace opportunism over obstinacy, cannot speak for more radical insurgents, and why appeasing the former will not have much impact on the latter.

The Indian government, particularly at the federal level, has applied both carrots and sticks against this nebulous insurgency, incentivizing insurgents to pick constitutional remedies and brutally punishing those who don’t. But the split between state and federal authority has limited the effectiveness of the battle against the insurgency. The record has been decidedly mixed, and the problem is obviously still growing.

Several state-specific operations have been launched to weaken the insurgency, but in many ways the Naxalites have proven to be their own worst enemies. They have often splintered into criminal syndicates dealing narcotics and running both extortion and kidnapping rackets. This has caused both massive intra-Naxalite violence and popular disgust. Despite the rise in per capita income in India, the states hit hardest by the Naxalites have the lowest state GDPs. The exceptions are Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, where state governments funded special counterinsurgency special forces that favored intelligence-led targeting over broad sweep operations that alienated the people. Andhra Pradesh has a long history of effective counterinsurgency largely because of the Greyhounds special taskforce created in 1989 to counter Naxalites. They fortified police stations and check posts with protective walls, modern weapons, communication devices and transportation systems. Finally, Greyhounds have worked hard to create a reliable intelligence network.

Still, most of the Naxalite-afflicted states have grossly ineffective police and dangerously low numbers of them. Counterinsurgency best practices dictate 270 police and 2,000 troops per 100,000 citizens. The police to population ratio in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh is less than 180, and over 450 in Indian-administered Kashmir and Nagaland. Moreover, there are serious human rights and corruption allegations against the police when they are present.

Today Naxalites focus on controlling areas rich in natural resources like iron and destroying state infrastructure like railroads, telephone exchanges and industrial plants. From 2005 to 2010, Naxalites preferred armed assaults, including ambushes (43 percent of all attacks), bomb attacks, including IEDs (27 percent), infrastructure destruction (15 percent), and kidnappings (13 percent) to assassinating government officials (2 percent). Naxalite presence overlaps critical areas with minerals and forest. Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa contain the bulk of India’s iron ore, and Andhra Pradesh has large reserves of bauxite, key inputs to Indian industry. The January 2007 report of the Naxalite central military commission explicitly identified a number of industrial plants and resource development initiatives in these areas as potential targets. Moreover, Naxalites dominate areas containing 85 percent of the country’s coal resources, which are used to power 55 percent of India’s energy supply and 75 percent of its electricity generation.

As already suggested, however, the Naxalite violence has proved a double-edged sword. Popular support for the Naxalites has decreased. A 2010 public opinion poll stated that only 10 percent of respondents self-identified as Naxalite “sympathizers.” At the same time, 32 percent agreed with the Naxalite demand of equal peasant pay and better working conditions, but 32 percent also said that the “methods were wrong.” Among Naxalite sympathizers, 59 percent disapproved of their destruction of infrastructure and other state property.

The U.S.-India security partnership is not new. At the tail end of the Cold War American intelligence officials began training Indian intelligence officials in hostage situations and aviation security, and supported counterinsurgency efforts against the Indian Sikh rebellion in the 1980s. In 1996, the U.S. government barred Sikh Americans from fundraising for the Sikh insurgency by declaring it a terrorist organization, and signed a U.S.-India extradition treaty in 1997. Since 9/11, the FBI and CIA, coordinated by the State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) program, have trained thousands of Indian security personnel in counterterrorism. After the Mumbai 2008 terrorist attacks, as a sign of growing U.S.-India security cooperation, India gave the CIA unprecedented access to the suspects, including Ajmal Kasab.

Yet there are serious challenges to making the relationship work up to its potential. India’s stubborn bureaucracy and federal-state divides frequently hamper American counterinsurgency support, and Indians have historically been wary of U.S. cooperation with archenemy Pakistan. In the past decade, however, Indian domestic politics have shifted in favor of a stronger long-term partnership with the United States, not least to counter and manage the rise of China. One result has been an increased number of American counterinsurgency trainers.

The Indian counterinsurgency order-of-battle escalates from police to paramilitary to regular army, and from the state to the federal level. When local and state police fail, the federal government sends in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the prime national counterinsurgency police force. This 230,000-strong force is spread across the red corridor and partners with state-specific special units, such as the Greyhounds in Andhra Pradesh. There is also the 230,000-strong Border Security Force (BSF), the 94,000-strong Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the 7,350-strong National Security Guards (NSG). Indian Army and Air Force units provide support when needed. For example, since 2009, the Indian Air Force has deployed Mi-17 V-5 helicopters with night vision capabilities to Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in support of CRPF.

In the past ten years, India has sought to improve its counterinsurgency force. In the 2013–14 budget, Delhi increased CRPF funding for anti-Naxalite operations to $2 billion, a 10 percent increase from last year. It has also increased the salaries of CRPF, state police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials by 50 percent for a year. The appointment of K. Vijay Kumar as the new Director General of CRPF and his emphasis on local recruitment of security forces has proved useful. This spring CRPF inducted 3,000 local recruits. Moreover, federal and state governments have taken steps to coordinate and share the cost of creating special counterinsurgency units in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. These specific counterinsurgency units are commanded by junior officers with more decision-making power than heretofore—an important demand from CRPF officers.

The government has also made better use of soft power, including financial compensation for defectors. “A Maoist who surrenders shall get a three year fixed deposit of Rs 300,000 (US $5,700) and . . . Rs 2,500 (US $48) will be paid every month to the Maoist”, said the Union Home Ministry spokesman in October 2009. Part of a larger Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) program continues today with state-specific incentives, such as education aid and house ownership support in Orissa.

All security forces report to the state or federal home or defense ministries. In theory, the National Investigative Agency and the Multi-Agency Center under the federal government streamline federal-state operations. In practice, however, there is still disunity of command and effort, prompting Shri Satpal Maharaj, Chair of India’s parliamentary Committee on Defense to propose in March 2013 a unified national policy to counter the Naxalites.

Undeniably, India must improve federal-state coordination on security, development and governance efforts and incorporate local governments. Bureaucratic efficiency is as imperative as socio-economic inducements and judicious use of force. In some areas governance is more of a problem than poverty. Moreover, bureaucratic turf wars within the security forces endanger counterinsurgency efforts. For example, last year the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) was supposed to provide drones (UAVs) and satellite imaging as part of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) support to CRPF, but it refused to cooperate, pushing CRPF to demand its own drone fleet.

Recent efforts of the Naxal Management Division and the inter-ministerial working group should help address this problem, but more effort is needed. The Indian Parliament must implement laws currently on the books that are specifically designed to protect the most vulnerable from violence from both sides, such as the Scheduled Tribes Recognition of Forest Rights Bill and the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act. In March 2013, an Indian Supreme Court judge emphasized the importance of legal solutions for the insurgency that encompass detainee rights and preventing human rights abuses.

At the same time, the insurgents have not bided their time. Despite splits, the Naxalite syndicate today has more than 25,000 committed fighters nationwide, with about 50,000 additional collaborators spread across villages. Many weapons captured are from China, increasing the likelihood of an indirect Naxalite-China nexus via Nepalese Maoist insurgents.

Additionally, since 2000, the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia, which represents ten regional insurgent groups, has supported the Naxalites by providing propaganda and explosives experts, many of them former Tamil Tigers. Communication capabilities have significantly improved, as well; many Naxalites are captured with sophisticated high-range, multi-channel scanners, scramblers, satellite phones and even mobile FM radio stations. Moreover, several detainees have admitted that they studied the weaknesses of anti-mine vehicles and sought to improve cell phone operated mines. To increase general sympathy, Naxalites have increased female recruitment and infiltrated trade unions and selected NGOs.

To counter these emerging Naxalite capabilities state police have stopped harassing “non-committed Naxal sympathizers” to sustain public support. They have purchased flak jackets, surveillance UAVs and a few bullet-proof and mine-resistant vehicles. Recently, Indian Army soldiers and National Security Guards officers have increased CRPF training. Many police are now trained at the newly formed Advanced Tactical Training Center in Hyderabad, and their salaries, hazard pay and life insurance have increased. Accelerated promotions have also increased force readiness and morale.

While India must take the lead in improving governance and security, the United States can help in two critical areas: training and equipment. Despite recent improvements, India’s prime counterinsurgency force, the CRPF, is under-equipped and poorly trained.

Since 2007 the Indian Army has conducted joint exercises with U.S. forces. For example, in March 2012 troops from the U.S. 25th infantry division participated in joint exercises that included columns of Indian tanks and armored personnel. Under broad U.S.-India maritime security cooperation, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Special Forces are training Indian security officers in counterterrorism. Since February 2012, American trainers under the State Department’s ATA program have been training Indian police in cooperation with India’s Home Ministry. The training includes forensic examination of terrorist crime scenes and advanced explosives incident counter measures. These courses are also available to state police, for example, in Kolkata (West Bengal). Intelligence agencies of both countries are also sharing resources to support specific counterterrorism operations.

A majority of Indians approve of U.S. global counterterrorism efforts, and while the current U.S. trainers program is small, there is virtually no opposition to it. The Communist Party of India-Maoist, known for its stalwart opposition to the U.S.-India nuclear deal, has less than 4 percent strength in the Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha), while generally pro-American parties, Indian National Congress and BJP have a combined strength of 50 percent. For six years, American trainers have instructed Indian security forces without a single serious incident. Unlike Pakistan, American trainers are safe in India; since 2007 not one American trainer has been kicked out or harmed.

Still some Indians justifiably question the U.S. counterinsurgency record in light of the blunders in Iraq and Afghanistan’s uncertain future. Recent reports of Mali Tuareg rebels trained in U.S. military institutions have cast doubt on the usefulness of U.S. training programs. U.S. counterinsurgency support to India, however, has not been vulnerable to such pitfalls. In India, American trainers work as security-sector reformers, not as occupiers mixing state-building and counterterrorism. Moreover, the U.S.-India partnership has a much stronger foundation—common values and interests—than U.S.-Mali relations ever have. Finally, the U.S. training program has a generally successful record in Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Senegal, Kenya, Indonesia, Poland, Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan, Colombia and El Salvador, among other countries.

In a time of budget cuts and sequestration at home, we need to get as much security “product” as we can from every dollar spent abroad. To bolster U.S.-Indian counterinsurgency cooperation, a modest $400 million India Counterinsurgency Initiative, jointly run by the Departments of Defense, State and Homeland Security, would do the trick.

This initiative would include the State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance program, which should increase from a mere $1.7 million to $20 million. It would also include the Defense Department’s International Military Education and Training (IMET), which should have a budget increase from a paltry $1.4 million to a still very modest $5 million. And it would include the Foreign Military Financing Account (FMF), which should go from zero to $300 million to purchase equipment such as U.S.-made mine-resistant vehicles. Another $65 million should be split between various law enforcement agencies of the Department of Homeland and the Justice Department—in the latter case, the FBI’s international police training program.

To put these numbers in context: The United States provided $128 million in anti-terrorism assistance to North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, of which $25 million was allocated to Pakistan and only $1.7 million to India. Counter-terrorism efforts, however, are vital for India’s counterinsurgency success, because both rubrics include armored vehicle training, crisis response team building, explosive incident countermeasures, post-blast investigations, training tactical commanders, VIP protection and vital infrastructure security. Today we spend less on training Indian security personnel than we do on security forces from Morocco, Tunisia, El Salvador, Poland and Pakistan. Compared to the zero dollars currently allocated to India in the Foreign Military Financing account, we provide $13.2 million to Bulgaria; $22 million to Indonesia; $35 million to Yemen; $42 million to Poland; and $296 million to Pakistan. Moreover, $800 million is allocated to Pakistan under the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund, with little bang for the buck. This distribution of resources, compared to both need and affinity, makes little sense.

In addition to training, the $400 million India Counterinsurgency Initiative would be used to provide vital equipment. India’s CRPF has very few armored personnel vehicles, let alone mine-resistant vehicles, and there is a dearth of flak jackets, GPS trackers and night vision goggles. Indian attack helicopters and UAVs are vital for providing ground support, but they are in short supply. To ease the burden on the Indian Air Force and create a dedicated air surveillance and support for CRPF, the Defense Department should consider selling U.S.-made Cobra gunships and predator drones to India.

This very modest investment is likely to generate high returns in the form of a more stable India that is a more capable partner for the United States. Despite internal cleavages, loss of popular support and military pressure, Naxalite violence is swelling. It is in the U.S. interest to help India deal with the problem. There is a strict limit to how much the U.S. government can do to address the domestic grievances at the root of the original Naxalite upheavals; that is a challenge Indians themselves must meet and master. But in the security domain we can help, and this is an area of cooperation in which the Indian government has few qualms about accepting assistance. It would truly be penny-wise and pound-foolish to let present budget strictures persuade us away from such a good investment.

Haider Mullick is a lecturer for the Naval Postgraduate School’s Leader Development and Education for Sustained Peace Program, a fellow at the U.S. Joint Special Operations University, a Ph.D. candidate at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, and a fellow at ISPU.

This article was published in the September/October 2013 issue of The American Interest. Read it here.

ISPU scholars are provided a space on our site to display a selection of op-eds. These were not necessarily commissioned by ISPU, nor is their presence on the site equal to an endorsement of the content. The opinions expressed are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ISPU.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap