Mr. Prakash Singh's most recent monograph on the Maoist Movement in India benefits from his unique perspective as a distinguished police officer in some of the country's most turbulent regions. His first monograph discussed the turmoil underway in India's northeast frontier. His current monograph provides a detailed history of insurgency in India, including an exhaustive examination of the history of uprisings starting from the Telengana insurrection of the mid-to-late 1940s to the Communist movement, sponsored by Mao Zedong's China. The insurgencies continued on through the Naxalite Movement to the Maoist Movement, which continues to threaten India's democracy. The paper's focus on the Naxalite Movement, which began in 1967 as a tribal peasant uprising following the split up of the Communist movement in India, provides the basic framework for studying insurgency in India. Mr. Singh places the Indian Government at the root of the basic causes of the uprising, specifically contributing to social inequality and economic injustice and the government's inability to address core grievances to prevent the expansion of unrest. Mr. Singh traces the transition of the peasant-led Naxalite movement, with its roots in a single village in West Bengal, to the Communist Party of India (Maoist) Movement, which has spread to some 20 of India's 28 states. India also includes six union territories and the National capitol territory of New Delhi.
Mr. Singh provides a running tally of events highlighting rebel attacks mostly on local police stations and outposts and the Indian government's general inability to launch an organized and effective counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign. The Maoist Movement continues to spread throughout the country not so much because its ideology is appreciated or even understood by the large majority of its followers, but more because of the inefficiency, corruption, and callousness of the government machinery and the absence of a single long-term policy to deal with the Maoist threat to the Indian State. The various approaches taken by different states under different political dispensation have been largely ineffective in tackling the insurgency. The Indian Constitution has limited the police's ability to ensure public order and the federal government feels powerless in a sense, according to Mr. Singh's analysis.
India's prime minister has declared more than once that the Maoist challenge is the biggest threat to the internal security of the country. Mr. Singh addresses the government's current two-pronged strategy: employing massive COIN operations and launching development schemes in a big way. The success of the approach, according to Mr. Singh, will depend on the ability of the Indian government to implement the development projects at the grass roots level and to improve governance in the far-flung provinces, particularly those inhabited by the various indigenous tribes. This monograph is a concise but thorough history of the Maoist movement and the government's response from the inception of the movement to the present day. As with Mr. Singh's previous monograph, how India accommodates its tribal minorities and reaches an accommodation with insurgents is a critical element for long-term regional stability and is of critical concern to the United States and the global community.
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