The Bush War
By Col JK Achuthan
Today the greatest danger to India's independence and flourishing democracy is the danger posed by the ever widening zones of Maoist influence. The Maoists want to turn back the clock of history by a hundred years and engulf India in flames, thereby ceding great advantages to our predatory adversaries who are playing a waiting game like the hungry wolves of the highlands.
The Maoists are even prepared to split India in order to seize power over whatever parts they can effectively control. This danger will get magnified if ever the Indian Army gets involved in the political game to drag it into anti Maoist operations.
We cannot let the same error committed by the KMT regime in China during the last century be repeated in India. Since 'law and order' is normally a State subject, many of the States having large proportion of poor and tribal population have been turning a blind eye, and the politicians-contractors-elites have been desperately trying to work out temporary arrangements to buy peace.
Today the Maoists dominated areas already cover the vast coal, iron ore, and alumina rich mining areas, as well as many vital hydroelectric and irrigation dam project areas of the country, thereby directly threatening swift national development and vital investments.
As the Maoists can freely move from one State to another through the adjacent forested areas, they are able to concentrate their cadres and strike with dreadful effect even on very large targets like jails, district HQs, large raw material factories, hijack trains, or disrupt national rail and road corridors with impunity.
These acts cause a further telling demoralising effect on the affected State's Police Force, while the other neighbouring States watch and think themselves to be lucky this time.
The Central Government has been busy keeping statistics and occasionally taking political mileage in Opposition ruled States, while its Home Ministry's Paramilitary Forces remains divided as several separate entities without any central unified controlling, coordinating and internal security operations directing HQ.
Had this situation existed in say Iran, all the PMFs would have been merged into the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and would have emerged as an elite force dreaded by their opponents even more than their country's Army.
In this quagmire of political rivalries, bureaucratic inaction, police empires, and lack of support for imaginative, effective policing coupled with simultaneous government supported developmental schemes, the shining example of Andhra Pradesh stands out within the Indian Union - in tackling the Maoists' violence head on and winning the war hands down.
The Andhra Pradesh Police have borrowed the motto of the famous Selous Scouts (of Rhodesia), "The Bush War has to be Fought in the Bushes" and lived up to it.
Image: A gun bearing a soldier's helmet stands as a tribute near coffins of soldiers killed in Maoist attacks in Chhattisgarh, after the bodies arrived at a military airport in New Delhi on April 7, 2010. (Photograph copyright AP)