Explaining success and failure counterinsurgency in Malaya and India
Boyini, Deepak Aneel.
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The Maoist insurgency in India, also called Naxalism, has become a threat to internal security with ever-growing violence and attacks on security forces and civilians. With the increased numbers of cadres, improved weaponry, and guerilla tactics, the Maoists' challenge to the state stretches across 16 of India's 28 states, affecting its economic growth. Despite efforts by India's state and central governments, counterinsurgency against Naxalism has failed in majority of affected areas. With an aim of finding a model that could lead to success in countering the Maoist insurgency, this thesis seeks to explain counterinsurgency success and failure, using cross-national and sub-national comparisons. At the national level, the successful Malayan counterinsurgency approach by the British is juxtaposed against the largely failed attempts by the Indian central authorities to control Naxalism. The thesis finds that success is explained by a combination of enemy-centric and population-centric approaches whereas failure is explained by lack of balance between the two. At the state level within India, a comparison between the successful case of Andhra Pradesh and the failed case of Chhattisgarh reveals a similar pattern. Specifically, enemy-centric measures based on reliable intelligence, a capable force, and a unified command followed by population-centric aspects of winning hearts and minds, lead to success in countering insurgencies.
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