Sunday, April 16, 2017

Is Pak Strategy of Counter Insurgency Operation Better than Indian Strategy? Kashmir Boiling Once Again

Since birth both countries, India and Pakistan have faced insurgencies and have adopted different strategies of counter insurgency operations. This blog makes an attempt to compare both strategies.

 Broadly, for an easy understanding of a lay man,  counter insurgency operations below threshold of an open war, can be classified as under:

1. Hammer to Crush Under Martial Law. This is the most brutal form of counter insurgency strategy and was followed by Russia in Chechnya. The strategy uses brutal military force under total command of military political power. It causes lowest attrition to troops and brings quick results if the terrain is not hostile. 

2.  Iron hands  The strategy of iron hand is to press insurgency under special military laws, where political powers remain in civilian hand but all civil forces work under command of military. Military is given control of counter insurgency operations including may be forming of special military courts. Civilian population is put under military laws. It results into lesser casualties to troops and takes reasonably shorter times to get results. 

3. Iron Hands with Velvet Gloves  An Indian innovation, wherein it means military assisting police and state over longer periods using minimum military force. Counter insurgency operations are conducted under peace time laws of the land with few powers given to military to assist police in arrest under incomplete laws like AFSPA. India probably is the only country in the world which follows it wherein police powers of arrest has been  extended to Military under civilian laws which are rightly so taken note by Supreme Court. Under this strategy insurgency is treated as normal law and order problem where in some regions are declared disturbed and army is deployed. It requires huge mass of forces on ground and may takes decades to get results with no assurances. 

4. Iron Hands with Velvet Gloves Wearing Bangles A new innovation by Indians. No one knows what it is in military terms, where in troops take beatings and use guns like toys. 

5 Aid to Civil Authority Short term military deployment to assist civil authorities under civilian laws. 

All above strategies requires constant attempts to bring peace through a political solution to bring normalcy.

Indians, after Independence for first 10 years adopted the strategy of Iron hands and were able to solve and control insurgencies in some regions to restore peace at faster paces. Pakistan in early stage of her history as independent country, adopted the strategy of 'Hammer to Crush' and were able to bring all disturbed frontier regions and Baluchistan in-spite of hostile terrain, under control.  The same policy did not work in Bangladesh due to lack of mass and momentum of a separated military force. In fact at the time of Russian invasion, the hostile regions of Pakistan had come to terms of near peace. 

While still fighting fading insurgencies, due to unfounded apprehensions of Indian politicians of a military coup and attempts of Babus to control military like police, India made a mid course correction and shifted the strategy of counter insurgency operations from Iron hands to Iron Hands with Velvet Gloves. Since adoption of such strategy, India is witnessing increase in insurgency which has now even engulfed the Central India under Maoists. Insurgency in Punjab failed as population refused to support a foreign funded insurgency. But the threats of it making returns in much larger areas of entire North India still exist. 

The Kashmir Valley, which was brought under control over 10-15 years of counter insurgency operations by military suffering very heavy losses not only in terms of troops killed but also troops court martial  for violations of Human Rights, is disturbed again. Troops acting like police, are put under defensive mindsets and taking beatings of organised stone peltings. A situation which was brought under control by army in-spite of Pak interference  has been mismanaged by politicians and situation is again back to worst. Political parties like  National Conference are fishing in troubled waters and BJP is still hoping against all hopes for peace in valley on its own. Valley is burning due to four main reasons. 

1. First time in history, people of Jammu have become partners in state governance where in BJP and PDP have coalition govt.  The situation is not palatable to many in Valley who so far have always controlled political power in the state. 

2. Political parities like national conference, which lost power in last elections, are fishing in troubled water to regain political control by making governance by coalition govt impossible.

3. Pakistan naturally has intensified her attempts to gain geo-political upper hand over India but even then is not in position to fuel situation as she did in late nineties using Afghans. Using Punjabis for this purpose like Afghans, carries an inherent risk of backlash back home which Pakistan will surely avoid. 

4. Though BJP govt is projecting a brave and bold face but fact is that the strategy of counter insurgency operations of Iron hands with velvet gloves as followed  by NDA govt has been diluted to Iron hands with velvet gloves wearing bangles. 

Stone pelters and those who are organizing such crimes are not only allowed to violate laws but also given encouragements by ordering forces to take their beatings. The situation is surely alarming and carries the risks of troops melting like as they did in 1962 at Sela in NEFA. Compulsion of coalition Govt forcing BJP making adjustments with PDP are pushing the state to high intensity of civilian disturbances risking national security. Surprisingly military intensity of resistance of insurgents is still low but can be escalated swiftly if civilian disturbances remain high.  

Pakistan is due for elections. Nawaz Sharif came to power in Pakistan breaking hold of PPP by using home grown militant groups. International pressure, deteriorating security situation within country and certain terrorists groups challenging authority of military, has forced Pakistan to act against hostile terrorists but protecting friendly ones.   But such military pressures do not fetch votes. With approaching elections, Nawaz sharif is likely to use Kashmir disturbances to please friendly terrorists who in turn can help him win next elections. Let us not forget BJP enjoys good relations with PMLN and will not like PPP in power. 

Pakistan on other hand, in the same period, shifted her strategy of Hammer to Crush to strategy of Iron Hands. It helped her avoid imposition of Martial Laws. The results seems encouraging in SWAT and Karachi however due to hostile terrain results are not very encouraging in Baluchistan. The levels of terrorist attacks in Pakistan have come down significantly. Military Courts are quick to give death penalties to anti national criminals. 

The need of the hour is to take a professional view of disturbed security situation in the country. Increase in area and intensity of insurgency in country is worrisome issue. The insurgency surely needs a right military dose. Indian doing experiments with insurgency by bringing methods which in military strategy can not be validated, should be avoided.

Who in govt controls situation is not clear? India has no defense minister. Is it Home Minister or NSA or PM or Ram Madhave of RSS? 

Valley dominated by Brahman converted Muslims, has a very high levels of political consciousness. These people refused to even accommodate Muslims of Mirpur due to caste differences which became one of the reason of Kashmir dispute. These people are again refusing to adjust democratically with the people of Jammu, Doda  and Leh. 

Kashmir has only one solution and that is allow Kashmiris to settle in Valley to give it a regional cosmopolitan shape. Army is competent enough to hold Pakistan.

Let military act like military, Dont try to use lions as sheep as if lions leave man eating habits and learn to survive on grass then who will deal with the beasts. 

Hope good sense prevails.