Fighting Like a Guerrilla

The Indian Army and Counterinsurgency

By Rajesh Rajagopalan

© 2008 – Routledge India

200 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415456845
pub: 2007-09-30
US Dollars$125.00
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About the Book

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.

Table of Contents

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

About the Author

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.

About the Series

War and International Politics in South Asia

This Series seeks to foster original and rigorous scholarship on the dynamics of war and international politics in South Asia. Following Clausewitz, war is understood as both a political and a social phenomenon which manifests itself in a variety of forms ranging from total wars to armed insurrections. International politics is closely intertwined with it, for war not only plays an important role in the formation of an international order but also a threat to its continued existence. The Series will therefore focus on the international as well as domestic dimensions of war and security in South Asia. Comparative studies with other geographical areas are also of interest.

A fundamental premise of this Series is that we cannot do justice to the complexities of war by studying it from any single, privileged academic standpoint; the phenomenon is best explained in a multidisciplinary framework. The Series welcomes a wide array of approaches, paradigms and methodologies, and is interested in historical, theoretical, and policy-oriented scholarship. In addition to monographs, the Series will from time to time publish collections of essays.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POL000000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / General
POL011000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
SOC008000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General