Relooking CI Strategy

The Imphal Free Press
Feb 18 2010
 
It is a show of a pathetic lack of imagination that the government has been able to think of no other counter insurgency strategy than to on a perpetually incremental scale, militarise the state. This is a strategy which all of us know have succeeded only in complicating, if not aggravating the situation. While it may be impossible for any government to not be in command militarily in an insurgency situation, hence making a certain degree of military preparedness inevitable, if the final goal is a lasting solution to the problem, it would have to explore other means of addressing the problem too. This is quite an elementary deduction and anybody sincere enough to tackle this overwhelming question should have understood it intuitively. That the Manipur government still has not come to this conclusion is an indication it is not giving the matter the policy attention necessary. As the time-tested wisdom says, if there seems to be no answer to a particular question, instead of doggedly persisting on answering the question, the more prudent approach is to think of changing the question itself. Put another way, and in the context that we began this discourse, this is about changing the paradigm of counter insurgency as such.
 
So far the quest for an answer to insurgency has been about raising more IRB battalions, upgrading police armaments, calling in more military and Central paramilitary forces, promulgating draconian acts and ordinances, even raising civil militias etc. All these as the state has been witnessing were indeed awesome exercises, but all of them together have not arguably made a dent on the issue at hand. They have on the other hand, entrenched insurgency even deeper into the society. True, these strong arm strategies may have acted as the dam to contain insurgency within certain defined perimeters, but nobody can claim these policies have solved or can solve insurgency. Even army generals have said this on so many occasions. Yet, few have ever asked the government what its extended counter insurgency policies are be beyond the point where the military responsibilities end. The government itself does not seem to have given this a serious consideration. This is where the imagination of the government seems to be bankrupt irredeemably.
 
So what then is the new question or questions to replace the old ones that relied only on militarisation? Nothing very profound about them either in our opinion, and these ought to have been obvious to anybody concerned enough. We can suggest just two strategies for the time being. First, instead of thinking any further of buying more guns, the government should revamp its putrid government schools which can reach out to the larger masses, unlike the private schools which by the compulsions of economics have to target the section of society which can afford their costs. Ensure that children studying in government-subsidised schools get competitive skills and knowledge. Give them the confidence and hope that they can rely on their own inner strengths to stand their stead in the competitive world. Equip them with the spirit of scientific scepticism to be independent thinkers and decision makers, and also acquire the ability to be rational judges of their predicaments, past, present and future, as well as what is just and unjust. Let the brightest and strongest soar into the blue skies, but let not the dull and weak be left too far behind either.
 
Second, end official corruption. Above all else, this will ensure a sense of justice amongst all in the society. When opportunities are open and equal before everybody, there will be little to complain or grudge when some have done better than some others. But today this is far from the truth. Merit has been relegated to the back seats and corruption has come to determine who gets to climb the social ladder high. Without being bitter about what has already happened, after all the clock can never be unwound, let the government at least now acknowledge the fact that ensuring these two conditions first and foremost, would be a much more effective “counter insurgency” strategy than all the arms that it acquires or the number of civil militiamen it raises. This is to say, ensure an overall sense of justice in the larger society and things will once again begin to fall in place. After all, justice is where all true revolutionary goals confluence. The only problem here is, there are no inordinately rich individual material dividends to be reaped by those in power from such a “counter insurgency” approach.


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