Just do it (Article)

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New Delhi, June 2 (ANI): Solve it, and if it means calling in the Army, then so be it. The Prime Minister on Tuesday said the government would fight terrorism "root and branch" and that the 'writ of the state" would be firmly enforced.

The fact that it was necessary to say this, is proof enough that there are pockets in this country where the writ of the state is not being enforced.

And, it is certainly jungle law when 76 personnel of a paramilitary force are blown up in broad daylight. India didn't lose so many soldiers in any one single operation against enemy forces in the 1999 Kargil War.

Defense Minister A.K.Antony met with the Armed Forces chiefs on Tuesday and discussed the option of deploying the army for anti-Naxal operations.

At Khadakvasla near Pune, over the weekend, Antony denied there being a split mandate over the use of the army, but, he was not alone in the hesitation of using the military for anti-insurgency operations within the country.

The chief ministers of the five affected states, and even some prominent members of the Congress party, have their reservations regarding the use of the Army and the Air Force against the Naxals.

The debate on the use of the Army for enforcing law is a pointer to the fact that the government, in all likelihood, miscalculated the extent and potency of the Maoist threat.

It is also a pointer to the fact that UPA-1 was lax in its intelligence analysis or else lax in acting on the analysis that it had.

While Union Home Minister P.Chidambaram was pilloried for his comment on the lack of a mandate and had to go on the back foot to explain what he meant, the fact is that the onus now rests on the Prime Minister.

Dr.Singh will have to use all the assets under his command to secure the affected states, clear them of anti-national violent forces and then bring forward the development agenda that is planned for them. First things first.

Some commentators have suggested a step-by-step approach of building an intelligence network, training local police, arming and training citizen security groups (not the Salwa Judum). These should have been in place decades ago. And, if they were not, then it is too late to begin now, and wait for it to fructify and start weeding out operations.

Begin with Jharkhand. It is a state under President's rule. So, there is no chief minister who will oppose the Centre. There are no issues of a Centre-State clash on security matters. Start from here. Send in trained personnel from the NSG, the Rashtriya Rifles, the CISF and the CRPF under a unified command.quip them with what they need in terms of resources and training. The latter has to be done under an intensive one-month course at the most. There isn't enough time.

Prepare the media and civil society that it is a crackdown on extremist elements who do not hesitate to kill unarmed civilians and armed soldiers on national duty.

These are vermin and no Gandhians with guns. They have to be eliminated or disarmed and made to surrender to the state. Through a well-coordinated media campaign, prepare the country to accept that there will be errors, setbacks and casualties. But there will be no looking back.

The Prussian general and military strategist Karl Von Clausewitz said: "if you entrench yourself behind strong fortifications, you compel the enemy to seek a solution elsewhere."

This kind of approach suggested above will result in a "spillove", wherein Maoist rebels are sure to hotfoot to neighboring states. So, let them. How far can they run?

In the East, and in the Deccan, there is the Arabian Sea at one end and the Bay of Bengal on the other. Once the spillover happens, neighbouring states will perforce have to cooperate with the Centre. And, the Home Minister will then get the cooperation and mandate that he has been seeking to crush Maoist rebels across the country.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting tomorrow (June 3) will deliberate on which way the winds will blow in the months to come. The prickly issues of using the armed forces, whether as foot soldiers, or ancillary support from the Air Force, or just continue to rely on the highly demoralized CRPF, will come up for deliberation.

The CCS comprises of the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, the Home Minister, the Defense Minister and the External Affairs Minister.

There are no easy solutions. The Army and the Home Ministry have made their recommendations, which will be discussed at the CCS. Both strategy and tactics will have to come into play quickly.

There is no luxury of time. Sun Tzu in his Art of War says, 'Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.' Time is now testing the mettle of the men in command in India. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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