1st Edition

Fighting Like a Guerrilla The Indian Army and Counterinsurgency

By Rajesh Rajagopalan Copyright 2008
    200 Pages
    by Routledge India

    200 Pages
    by Routledge India

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    This book deals with two significant issues: the peculiar and paradoxical question of why regular armies, better suited to fighting conventional high-intensity wars, adopt inappropriate measures when fighting guerilla wars; and the evolution of the Indian army’s counterinsurgency doctrine over the last decade. In addition, the book also includes the first detailed analysis of the trajectory of the army’s counterinsurgency doctrine, arguing that while it was consolidated only over the last decade, the essential elements of the doctrine may in fact be traced back to the army’s first confrontation with the Naga guerillas in the 1950s. It outlines the three essential elements that make up the Indian army’s counterinsurgency doctrine:

    • that there are no military solutions to an insurgency;
    • that military force can only help to reduce levels of violence to enable political solutions; and
    • that there should be limited use of military force.

    Rajagopalan argues that international circumstances — particularly the need to counter conventional military threats from Pakistan and China — led to a counterinsurgency doctrine that had a strong conventional war bias. This bias also conditioned the organisational culture of the Indian army.

    1. The Puzzle: Conventional Armies and Guerrilla Wars  2. Guerrilla Wars and International Political Theory  3. Taming the Tigers: The IPKF in Sri Lanka  4. Evolution of the Indian Army’s Counterinsurgency Doctrine  5. Assessing the Explanations


    Rajesh Rajagopalan is Associate Professor in International Politics at the Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Previously, he was Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi (2002-2004), and Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi (1998-2000, 2001-2002). He also served as Deputy Secretary in the National Security Council Secretariat, Government of India (2000-2001). His areas of research interest are international relations theory, military doctrines, and nuclear weapons and disarmament. His publications include a book, Second Strike: Arguments about Nuclear War in South Asia (2005); and articles in a number of academic journals including Contemporary Security Policy, India Review, South Asian Survey, Contemporary South Asia, Small Wars and Insurgencies, and Strategic Analysis as well as in Indian newspapers such as The Hindu, The Indian Express, Financial Express, and The Hindustan Times.