Homeland Security

ULFA's niche war
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Issue Vol 24.1 Jan-Mar2009 | Date : 15 Nov , 2010

Its concern for continued supply of arms and ammunition is further handicapped by the lack of international arms market in the immediate vicinity of the borders of Assam. It has to look for arms in the Middle East, China, Southeast Asia and  Western Europe. Having acquired these weapons from such far away places, it will need transit facilities in the proximity of Assam borders. Myanmar and Bangladesh could serve as arms supply nodes. But it has to be in a very clandestine manner. The scenario can not be compared to Afghanistan where Pakistan served as a conduit for arms supply in a big way. Nevertheless arms could still trickle-in in penny packets. Even if limited bases are found in these countries, ULFA faces a huge problem of importing them into Assam from Bangladesh and Myanmar. It has to deal with Nagas, Manipur and Tripura rebels. They will extort a definite price for facilitating such movement of arms.

To beat ULFA at its game of clever use of the Fourth Estate, unit and sub ““ unit commanders on the spot must be empowered to develop relations with local press-barons.  A clever psychological campaign must be launched.

Possessing arms is one thing but using them against the Army is another? This highlights the second problem of the ULFA. It needs mentally hardened and highly motivated militant cadres who can undertake the risk of engaging the Army in shoot-out battles. This can not be done overnight. It needs a total militarization of the social psyche of the youth. This transformation needs time, which is what ULFA is hoping to do through its soft-target-killings approach. However, protempore, ULFA will look for hired mercenaries of other militant organizations. It will go for ‘contract-killings’ of selected Army officers, police officials, government officials and SULFA cadres. Hired mercenaries will not only do ULFA’s job of contract-killings but also provide adequate training and expertise to ULFA cadres.

As for the financial problem, it will be further compounded. The purchase of sophisticated weapons and their carriage and transportation to Assam will undoubtedly demand huge funds at its disposal. Also add to it the cost of hired mercenaries who will ask for huge sums. Besides, the training and recruitment of its cadres will place further financial burden.  All this will force ULFA to extract funds from the business community and tea-gardens. It may also levy taxes on general public and collect them regularly. This is where the ULFA would run into problems with the people of Assam. If the problem persists, business will come to a standstill and its source of finances will dry up. It may also resort to drug-trafficking and other such clandestine activities to muster funds. It is no surprise that the Northeast region has fallen prey to the narcotics menace due to active involvement of various militant organisations in such activities.

Narcotics and militancy have both caused upheavals to the societies of the region. There are reports that the Northeast region is fast becoming a breeding place of the dreaded HIV-virus. The militants perhaps do not realize the harm they are causing to their people through such nefarious activities. Finally, ULFA will like to wage a protracted war and internationalize its cause. To wage a protracted war it ought to preserve itself. It must make the job of the Army difficult by active aggression. And ‘active aggression’ will be sustained by large scale import of arms and hired mercenaries.

Shoot-out-battles will create ULFA-martyrs, who will eventually be the rallying points. ‘Bandhs’, protests and agitations against such actions of the Army would be organized to further slow down Army operations. Media will be extensively used to launch a disinformation campaign. The ’spin-doctor’ of ULFA will spread rumours on the alleged atrocities of the Army. At the same time, it will seek foreign platforms and forums through its alleged links with ISI to internationalize the crisis. All this will be a long drawn strategy, hoping that other regions and states cause similar pinpricks in the rest of the country. The ULFA would hope that one day a Soviet type collapse may occur and the bleeding Army has no strength left to combat it.


Nothing can be done unless there is peace and harmony. Growth and development can take place only if our homes are safe and secure. Today, the danger to our security is more from internal foes. We have to focus on internal security. We have a large number of cleavages in terms of region, religion, language, and ethinicity, which are vulnerable to exploitation by our enemies. We ought to pay more attention to WOM. I do not think NIA (National Investigation Agency) alone will measure up to the threats of WOM and Terrorism. Some of the measures that need to be taken are :-

External security force be trimmed and made capable of fighting Smart and Designer Wars or the Niche War like in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and J&K. In so doing, there is a requirement of great coordination amongst the three services.

  • Creation of Unified Command and its Nodes. There is a need to create a more effective and balanced Unified Command, both at the national level and its nodes in various regions affected by insurgency/militancy/terrorism. Separate forces including civil and military intelligence agencies, combating WOM must come under this. There is no need to create separate infrastructure, the current geographical extents of existing Army Commands can work as the Regional Nodes. At the national level, it ought to be under yet to be appointed CDS (Chief of Defence Staff). But, till it is formalized, we can place it under the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS). Similarly, at each regional node staffing should be done at the levels of the Command HO, Corps HQ , Division HQ and Brigade HQ. With the implementation of Phase -2 of AVS committee report, all the new upgradations of the ranks of Colonels/Brigadiers and Major Generals can be easily consumed.
  • Vitalize and reorganize internal security forces. In the long run, we might have to do a rethink on the reorganization of state police mechanism to enable it to tackle violence, riots and terrorism, whether external or internal. We must concentrate on WOM because an all-out-war of 1971 type is currently ruled out unless we want to go for nuclear exchange in the subcontinent. The Rashtriya Rifles could form the nucleus of such a force. This force must become an all India Internal Security Force, with all the powers of Police and those provided by the Armed Forces Disturbed Area Act of 1958. Its caders must be on all India basis. Each district of India should have a battalion of 1000 personnel placed along with the district police.
  • Law and order must not be exclusively state subject. The power of the police should be curtailed to only investigation and filing of criminal complaints. It must be made mandatory for each police station to file FIR in every case. The FIR lodging procedures must be simplified.
  • Intelligence agencies be made more responsive to the modern day problems of violence, riots and terrorism. There should be only one agency controlling all kind of intelligence in the state. It should become a single window through which all intelligence related to national security must flow.
  • External security force be trimmed and made capable of fighting Smart and Designer Wars or the Niche War like in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and J&K. In so doing, there is a requirement of great coordination amongst the three services. Thus, the post of CDS needs to be created to closely and intimately control Army, Navy and Air force , Internal Security Force and NIA. His status should be at par with the NSA (National Security Adviser). The roles should be defined. According to me, the NSA should involve himself with the strategic aspects of national security and CDS should act on the executional aspects. In other words where the job of NSA ends, the job of CDS begins.
  • Defence ministry be bifurcated into two wings i.e. IS (Internal Security) wing and ES (external security) Wing. Each wing must be placed under a minister of state for defence.
  • Corrupt and Derelicting public servants. Corruption is the main cause of WOM flourishing in India. Corrupt officials are equally to be blamed for terrorist acts. There is a need to fix responsibility on bureaucracy, i.e. IAS, IPS and PCS cadres. They just get away by blaming the politicians. The Deputy Commissioners and Sub-Divisional Magistrates (SDMs) must be made accountable for any act of violence in their areas of responsibility. To dispel insecurity from the public minds, public servants, including MLAs and MPS, ought to be summarily dismissed if found indulging in corrupt practices. All public servants must be asked to file annual return on purchase of items worth Rs 20,000 or more. Non-filing should invite not only confiscation but also dismissal.
  • Media to be made responsible and a partner in nation-building. They must not disclose vital information from the scene of incident which may jeopardize operations. Guidelines for self control must be laid down by the central government. The media ought to be debarred from propping up criminals and terrorists in the name of freedom of speech.
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One thought on “ULFA’s niche war

  1. Hahahah such an idiotic post where was central govt after 1971 when bl@@@y Bangladeshis invaded Assam, Where was Army when china invaded north east as@@@@le ra@@y you came to save your people not indigenous people of north east ra@@y f@@k@@s

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