Loss of life is always tragic, but at the cost of inviting public disapprobation upon myself, but here are HARD LESSONS to be learned from the Sukma massacre and these MUST be learned quickly to staunch any further blood flow.
I would be failing in my duty as a military mind if I don’t articulate my twopence worth about what I think failed those unfortunate 25 in their hour of reckoning.
Firstly, Quality of Leadership: There was absence of Senior (Unit/subunit) and the Junior (Platoon/Squad) unit was ineffective.
Secondly, Training: Police training is far removed from the specialised Skills and operating philosophies and procedures for Counter Insurgency tasks. The Indian Aarmy took decades to master this and after taking massive losses.
Thirdly, Mental orientation: They are still dealing with an insurgency situation with a Policing mindset. There is little to negligible tactical orientation. And the inner aggression is nonexistent. Our security forces are more reactive than proactive. There is no concept of Physical and mental area domination. They are living in the static ‘pillbox’ mentality. There is no physical and mental mobility and flexibility.
Fourthly, Physical Fitness: This point is self-explanatory. It would suffice to say that the CRPF cadres need to address this basics inescapable aspect and never forget the maxim ‘A physically unfit soldier, is a dead soldier.’
Fifthly, Equipping: Our soldiers are fighting with outdated weaponry and equipment. There is no allied protection equipment, such as Bullet Proof Jackets, etc. We have ancient Radio communication means. There is rudimentary infrastructure, poor logistics, few force multipliers, such as ISR capabilities, Realtime intelligence, Tactical Survelliance means including UAVs, Helicoptors for rapid insertion, sidestepping of forces, and reinforcements.
Sixthly, Diversity of Roles: There are too many diverse roles and frequent change of roles, tasks and deployment. This leads to a tendency to end up being confused, inadequately oriented and trained.
A possible Way Forward:
- Post regular senior Army Officers (on deputation) to all senior Command and Operational locations of CRPF.
- Indian Army be requested to progressively expand their infrastructure at close-in weapon system to commence Training to Junior Leaders and Men of CRPF at the earliest.
- The Army be requested to establish Division Battle Schools in Nodal field and existing Training Centres to hand hold all CRPF battalions undergo 2-3 months orientation and training in minor tactics, weapon handling, and rigorous physical fitness prior to induction for their operational tasks.
- CRPF and possibly other Permanent Military Forces & Central Armed Police Forces employed for Counter Insurgency tasks to be redesignated as CHSF (Central Homeland Security Forces) & transferred to operational & admin control Ministry of Defence under a new Depepartment of Homeland Security.
- Reorganise the CHSF for Training, Equipping, Tactics & Leadership like the Army.
- Imbibe the Strong ethos, training, leadership, tactics and physical fitness of Army to all.
- Lastly after reorganising, all CHSF should be at par with the Armed Forces including salaries, T&Cs, and pensions. Cross Posting of regular Army officers & men on pattern Round Robin. No more IPS deputations.
So my earnest request to the worthy Home Minister of India is to kindly put an end to this tendency of ‘Empire building’ and operate in silos, and instead of offering homilies and platitudes and calling for a meeting of his own fellas, he should instead walk across the road to meet his counterpart in the South Block heading the MoD and make these requests without any further delay. That will yield him and the Country far more concrete results in the future.
Written by Ravin Kumar