IN­TER­NAL SE­CU­RITY – THE LOOM­ING CRI­SIS : A VIEW­POINT

Since last two years that China has been pro­vid­ing arms and com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment to to the Maoists through the Kachen rebels in Myan­mar and on­wards through the PLA of Ma­nipur and that China was also or­gan­is­ing joint PLA Ma­nipur and Maoists train­ing in

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The na­tion’s in­volve­ment in forth­com­ing elec­tions has ap­par­ently di­verted the at­ten­tion from the ac­cel­er­at­ing in­ter­nal se­cu­rity threats, not that they were taken that se­ri­ously ear­lier. One ex­am­ple is the re­sponse to the Maoist in­sur­gency which has been left gen­er­ally to the con­cerned states, Cen­tre’s in­volve­ment be­ing limited to dish­ing out cen­tral armed po­lice forces and pe­ri­odic in­tel­li­gence in­puts de­spite the Prime Min­is­ter stat­ing for past so many years that the Maoist in­sur­gency is the great­est in­ter­nal se­cu­rity threat to the coun­try.

In this con­text, the re­cent Maoist strike in Sukma district that claimed the lives of 11 CRPF, four lo­cal po­lice per­son­nel and one civil­ian in the crossfire was a re­peat of past so many in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing the re­peat story of ig­nor­ing the alert sounded by the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs (MHA) which them­selves are generic in na­ture and pe­ri­odic and vi­o­lat­ing the laid down stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure for move­ment in Maoist-in­fected ar­eas. The Maoist tac­tics of mass at­tack was re­peated in day­light re­port­edly by a group num­ber­ing be­tween 100 and 200 tak­ing the col­umn by sur­prise in an area ideal for am­bush, not dis­sim­i­lar to and just eight kilo­me­tres away from the May 25, 2013, am­bush on the Congress con­voy. Not only had the col­umn es­tab­lished a rou­tine pat­tern, drills for send­ing ad­vance scouts and mov­ing from bound to bound were re­port­edly not fol­lowed. No lessons have been drawn from scores of sim­i­lar ear­lier am­bushes.

There have been MHA ad­vi­sories in the run up to the Lok Sabha elec­tions but these again are rou­tine and with­out spe­cific in­puts though is­sued to Maoist in­fested states and states that are to hold elec­tions in­clud­ing like Ch­hat­tis­garh, Bi­har, Jhark­hand, Odisha, West Ben­gal, Mad­hya Pradesh, Ma­ha­rash­tra and Ut­tar Pradesh. Sig­nif­i­cantly, in the run up to the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elec­tions, there were 109 Maoist at­tacks claim­ing nine lives in the for­mer and 125 at­tacks claim­ing 24 lives dur­ing the lat­ter. But what should be of se­ri­ous con­cern is that Rev­o­lu­tion­ary People’s Front (RPF) of Ma­nipur com­mu­niqué that an am­bush was car­ried out un­der “Oper­a­tion Leop­ard” on March 11, 2013, in Sita vil­lage of Chan­del district on the con­voy of Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer of 24 As­sam Ri­fles us­ing ex­plo­sives, RPGs and M-79 as­sault ri­fles. The com­mu­niqué went on to boast re­cov­ery of sev­eral arms and am­mu­ni­tions, in­clud­ing one AK-47, one AR-M1F41, three mag­a­zines, 87 live bul­lets, one mag­a­zine pouch, one INSAS LMG, one INSAS ri­fle with two mag­a­zines, 48 live rounds and a Mo­torola wire­less ra­dio.

Even of more con­cern is the state­ment of the RPF be­ing a strate­gic part­ner of the Maoists, con­grat­u­lat­ing the CPI (Maoist) on its suc­cess­ful con­duct of an at­tack on an CRPF on March 11 at Sukma district, Ch­hat­tis­garh. A spokesper­son of RPF de­scribed RPF “as a force fight­ing against In­dia’s colo­nial oc­cu­pa­tion of a coun­try can fully un­der­stand the suf­fer­ing and fully sup­port the cor­rect rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ment launched by the CPI (Maoist) for the lib­er­a­tion of the marginalised and to bring about equal­ity in so­ci­ety”.

Such de­vel­op­ment should have been fore­seen with me­dia re­ports cit­ing in­tel­li­gence in­puts since last two years that China was pro­vid­ing arms and com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment to the Maoists through the Kachen rebels in Myan­mar and on­wards through the PLA of Ma­nipur and that China was also or­gan­is­ing joint PLA Ma­nipur and Maoists train­ing in the North­east In­dia aside from pro­vid­ing as­sault ri­fles pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties to Kachens of Myan­mar and In­dian Maoists. Paresh Barua and his main cronies of ULFA are re­port­edly based in Ruli, in main­land China. NSCN (IM) leader Isaac Muivah ac­cused the Cen­tral Govern­ment of de­lib­er­ately de­lay­ing the on­go­ing po­lit­i­cal talks be­tween the two en­ti­ties as per a re­port in the Na­ga­land Post though Muivah NSCN IM’s Isak Swu have been camp­ing in Delhi for the last four months. Such in­tran­si­gence needs to be viewed in con­cert with Chi­nese na­tion­als ap­pre­hended with fake In­dian documents two years back on a mis­sion to con­tact Naga in­sur­gents.

A sig­nif­i­cant re­port put un­der wraps was the re­cov­ery of a 1.5 kg Ura­nium mine by the Army in As­sam in Jan­uary 2013. CBRN at­tacks have oc­curred in Ja­pan in 1995 (Sarin gas at­tacks on Tokyo sub­way) and an­thrax at­tack in the US in 2001. Ter­ror­ists would have no com­punc­tions in con­duct­ing CBRN at­tacks in In­dia, which can be even more lethal if cou­pled with sui­cide bomb­ing. This is no time to be com­pla­cent.

The views ex­pressed herein are the per­sonal views of the au­thor.

LT GEN­ERAL (RETD) P.C. KA­TOCH

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