Homeland Security

Capture of India : the Maoist blueprint
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Issue Vol 25.3 Jul-Sep2010 | Date : 06 Oct , 2010

Political and Military Strategy

Political Strategy

Maoist political strategy stems from a concrete class analysis of the present day Indian society. Its chief targets are three fold – Imperialism, Feudalism and Comprador Bureaucratic Capitalism. The struggle, it claims, will be led by the Indian Industrial Proletariat (who will provide the leadership). It will closely ally itself with the peasantry – especially the landless poor peasants, tribals as also the urban petit bourgeois and mobilize the people for an armed struggle and build a People’s Army to overthrow the state.

As per the Maoist document strategic areas are the hilly regions with dense forest cover. They have already secured these with their tribal foot soldiers “¦

Military Strategy

This is premised upon building a People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) and a People’s Militia, establish strong and self-sufficient base areas or liberated areas in the vast countryside (primarily in the deep forested and hilly areas). They will continually expand their base areas in a protracted People’s War. It will surround the cities (like islands in a sea of people). The People’s Liberation Guerilla Army will be transformed into a regular People’s Liberation Army to smash the reactionary Armed Forces and seize political power through the barrel of a gun. The PLA will capture the cities by resorting to Mobile Warfare and positional warfare.

Current Strategic Phase

The document states, “We are presently in the phase of Strategic Self Defence. At present, the revolutionary movement is advancing in a vast belt of peoples war encompassing the extensive areas of Dandakaranya, Jharkhand, Andhra, Bihar-Orrisa border, North Telangana and Koel-Kaimur. We will be able to build these areas into contiguous areas of armed struggle with each area influencing the other.”

Facing Enemy Counter Offensives

When there is a serious enemy offensive in the form of encirclement and suppression campaign, we should not make futile attempts to hold territory. We should disperse in mobile squads and at the same time should carry on attacks from exterior lines, simultaneously with attacks from within the area of encirclement. The tactical counter offensive against the enemy should be carried out in the form of small and big military actions. A “meal is eaten mouthful by mouthful”. By following the tactics of sudden attack and annihilation it is absolutely possible to defeat the enemy and achieve victory for the people in single battles.”

The recent costly ambushes of the CRPF in Chhattisgarh leading to the death of 76 and then 27 personnel are chilling proof of these tactics of annihilation. It indicates how the battle is unfolding entirely in conformity with the Maoist design.

It (CRPF) is excellent for static security duties and guarding VAs/VPs. However as the recent disasters in Chattisgarh have amply highlighted, it is in no position to undertake offensive CI operations in the dense jungle terrain.

External Involvement

Chapter Six states inter alia “However the revolutionary situation can become even more favourable for the rapid advance of the peoples war due to several factors such as a war with the neighbouring countries.”

The Maoists are looking forward to external involvement in this battle, which they feel will greatly help their cause. It also looks forward to the possibility of the emergence of revolts amongst the Police, Para-military forces as well as the Army.


Since the strategy hinges on the seizure of power through protracted Peoples War – the document highlights that in the name of preparation of armed struggle, participation in elections will only sabotage the revolutionary movement.


The document must be thoroughly studied by all those dealing with Indian security. It contains a wealth of details on Strategy, Tactics, Terminology and Methods. There is a crystal clear Maoist perspective plan and strategy that was evolved in 2004 and chillingly anticipated the chaotic response and situation of today.

Chapter 10 talks in detail of building a People’s army. Mao had said, “without a People’s Army, the people have nothing” and “political power flows out of the barrel of a gun”. The Maoist document states ominously, “The exploiting ruling classes will never relinquish or give up power voluntarily. Without smashing the present state machinery and the main constituents of state power, the mercenary armed forces, the instruments of the suppression of the people by ruling classes….. the Indian people cannot establish political power. Hence, in order to completely smash the state machinery, the building up of the People’s Army as the organised armed force of the masses is indispensible.”

There is a clear and palpable menace building out there. The Indian state has so far seriously underestimated the military potential of the Maoist movement. This has allowed it to flourish unhindered and establish its Revolutionary Base in the Red Corridor of densely forested hills of Peninsular India. No Guerilla Army could have asked for a better terrain. We have a serious fight on our hands. Its start point cannot be a thesis that it does not exist at all.

Counter Strategies and Response Options

Having examined the primary sources to comprehend the threat and understand the Maoist roadmap for fomenting a Red Revolution to overthrow the Indian Republic, let us examine our response options. As stated earlier, this serious threat had been underrated and under-resourced for far too long. The Maoist have now succeeded in establishing Revolutionary Base areas in the hilly and densely forested regions of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar-Odhisha border and in the Gadchiroli Tribal districts of Mahararshtra. Though the leadership is exclusively Urban (and largely of Andhra origin) it has very methodically exploited the angst and suffering of India’s tribal population to recruit highly skilled, natural guerillas for the armed struggle who are formidable fighters in the dense jungle terrain. The strength of the Core Base area in the Chattisgarh-Dantewada forest region has been amply highlighted by the massacres of the CRPF in this area.

Mao had enunciated his strategy in terms of exploiting the three resources of Space, Time and Material. A modern Industrialised State mobilizes all its Material resources for seeking a quick victory in time. It can not afford an extended campaign. Hence it seeks a quick victory in time. The essence of that strategy is to deny the enemy that quick victory and extend the war in Space and Time. Mao used Space to extend the war in time. Mao in fact defined space as square mileage minus a workable communication net work. Thus he said:–

  • 10 square miles of dense jungle/hilly terrain equals 100 square miles of plain with poorly developed communications.
  • 100 square miles of such plains with poorly developed communications network would equal to 1000sq kms of plains with well developed communications.

The Indian Maoist document analyses the Indian terrain in Chapter 7. It says the strategic areas are the hilly regions with dense forest cover. They have already secured these with their tribal foot soldiers who are the best human resource for this terrain.

Considering the seriousness of the threat (as clearly revealed by a study of the Maoist Strategy document) “¦ it  is imperative for the national leadership to understand the gravity and scale of the threat.

The essence of the Indian Counter Strategy therefore would be to:-

  • Strike hard at the narrow, elitist base of the Maoist leadership (mostly urban, middle class intellectuals from Andhra) by employing covert Action teams, and the Army’s Special Forces.
  • Destroy the Revolutionary Base Areas established in the Chattisgarh- Dandkaranya region by concurrent attacks against all bases simultaneously. This will have to be in the form of large scale “Seek and Destroy” operations by very well trained forces in large numbers. To begin with, this may need over two Army Divisions and the Para Military Forces, with the Army focusing on the primary base area of the Chattisgarh forests.
  • Secure the Communication Grid and the Population Centers by deploying a Counter- Insurgency (CI) Grid along the primary Road network in the Red Corridor. This would need a mix of the Rashtriya Rifles and properly trained Central Police Organisations.

CRPF as the Lead CI Force The Group of Ministers constituted to study the Lessons of the Kargil War had designated the CRPF as the lead CI Force of this country. As a result it was mindlessly expanded to over 220 Battalions without changing its basic police ethos, operational philosophy and organizational structure. The CRPF is an excellent add-on police force for aggravated law and order situations (election duties, communal riots, castist violence, civilian unrest etc). It is excellent for static security duties and guarding VAs/VPs. However as the recent disasters in Chattisgarh have amply highlighted, it is in no position to undertake offensive CI operations in the dense jungle terrain. Pushing it into a task it is woefully unprepared for will lead to avoidable loss of life and loss of weapons to the insurgents.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Maj Gen GD Bakshi, (Retd)

is a war Veteran and Strategic Analyst.

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