Arjun Ray's book is based on the dialogue around the counterinsurgency doctrine, arguing that the main strategy towards this aim should be preventing people from feeling alienated. The central focus of this strategy, which the author in his capacity as an army man successfully executed in Operation Sadhbhavna, is the people. The author believes that killing is counterproductive and the army must change its role from ‘winning wars’ to ‘preventing wars’.
He also calls upon the media to be more responsible in discharging their role in nation-building rather than being a bystander.
The author proposes a three-pronged strategy to achieve success—preventing conflict by addressing human security through human development, pursuing a policy of atonement and forgiveness, and eliminating trust deficit between the State and the marginalized—the three pillars of Operation Sadhbhavna. The failure on the part of the State and the army to follow this strategy, with terrible human cost and devastating consequences, is charted through the examples of the Naxalite and Kashmiri experience.
The Signposts: Hope, Modernization and Non-Violence
On a journey of a thousand miles, ninety is but half way.
There is a thin, blurred line between militancy and terrorism that most political thinkers and security specialists are unable to discern. Militancy is political, terrorism is nihilistic. Irrespective of how it may begin, and no matter how well it is justified by its practitioners, terrorism is primarily destruction for the sake of destruction, an act of despair, a weapon of last resort.
Insurgencies and guerrilla wars of the mid- and late-20th century were calibrated forms of violence intended to achieve political goals. Lenin's October Revolution, Mao's Communist Revolution and Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution are classic examples. The means adopted may have been unjustified ...