Are they really prepared?
swati | 02 Sep 2009


            Recent news on the internet and other sources revealed that the police forces of naxal affected states would be planning a joint operation, coordinating their responses and flushing out naxals from their strongholds. The police forces have trained some units in specialized jungle warfare training and have equipped them better. Some unconfirmed news items also reported that they had appointed a military advisor to guide these police operations.
            Would it work? or would it just be jungle bashing and engaging even more forces in a meaningless endeavour? We assume that the planners are well prepared and have taken everything into consideration , however a few questions that come to mind  are given in succeeding paragraphs.
            Do they have sufficient forces to establish a security grid in naxal areas? If so, do they have sufficient forces after this to carry out strikes against the naxal’s? Are the posts on the security grid well protected and administratively self contained? Can sufficient strike forces be shifted at short notice by air? Are there sufficient helipads or designated drop zones in the area? What is the legal status of forces operating ? Are there any special powers envisaged for them?  Do the strike forces have sufficient familiarity with the area? Do the forces have sufficient updated maps of a suitable scale? Do most of them have suitable survival and navigation skills in jungle areas?
            Do the forces have reliable and secure communications? What is the means of staff level and ground level coordination within the police forces of various states? Is the coordination good enough for active operations ? Have they been rehearsed? What level of ground intelligence do the forces posses on the naxals? It is really good enough for pin pointed  operations  ? Do the forces have any communication interception capability? Do the forces have sufficient IED detection equipment?    Do they have sufficient number of trained explosive detecting dogs? Do the forces possess sufficient number of personnel familiar with local/tribal language? Do they have trained interrogators in sufficient numbers?
         What is their causality evacuation arrangement ? Is it adequate for remote areas? Are the troops genuinely physically fit and motivated? Are they above average marksmen? Is equipment familiarity with new equipment adequate? Are sufficient spares and ancillaries available? Will there be a joint control centre having representatives and experts from operations, intelligence, communication and logistic fields established for coordination ? Have these forces been rehearsed in joint operations before? Do these forces have at least a limited night fighting capability?
            The questions are many and can go on, however, all these, and so many others need to be addressed   adequately at the functional level, before large scale operations against naxal dominated areas are planned, otherwise they would degenerate into failures or at best, they would be publicity exercise, which on ground would be futile.
        A determined foray into naxal controlled area’s, if envisaged by the government forces, has to be a very deliberate and well thought out strategy, with adequate preparation, skill up gradation and resource allocation.