India: Counter Insurgency forces are mis-directed by Israeli surveillance drones, highly over-rated

[As imperialist and reactionary governments have placed exaggerated reliance on drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAV’s) for remote-controlled surveillance and  bombing missions, the growing number of civilian casualties (“collateral damage”) from armed missions (in Pakistan and Afghanistan), and confused surveillance intelligence (as reported below, and elsewhere) is generating growing doubts in counterinsurgency circles about this supposedly accurate tool.  They have invested a lot in the promise of this weapon, so they do not want to give it up.  —  Frontlines ed.]

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by Yatish Yadav, India Today, in  New Delhi, January 3, 2012

Images provided by drones are not actionable since it cannot penetrate foliage.

Heron drone proves a dud in tracking Maoists in Chattisgarh

In the second week of December, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flew over the Maoist-hit areas of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh, picking up images of village dwellings and human movement.

At the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) control room the information was treated as a major breakthrough since the drones deployed in the area had so far failed to provide sufficient intelligence inputs.

The state and paramilitary forces were also convinced that the images were of a Naxal camp. An operation was immediately planned. Surprise and speed were to be the key elements.

The operation was to be similar in nature to the ones successfully undertaken by the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A surrendered Maoist was also quizzed to clear the doubts about the target location.

Armed with the visuals provided by the Heron drone, a team of two units, comprising paramilitary was dispatched on foot to encircle and sanitize Teriwal village in Dantewada.

Another 125 personnel were to be air dropped at the assembly area which was some kilometres away from the presumed Naxal camp at Teriwal, as was indicated by the footage relayed by the UAV.

But on December 19, an air force MI-17 helicopter with armed personnel on board came under fire while it was carrying out its 10th sortie. Two shots hit the rotor of the helicopter. The men had a lucky escape.

The sudden attack on the chopper caught the forces off guard. The UAV images clearly did not provide any indication of Maoist movement in the area, which was chosen to drop security personnel and was far away from the presumed rebel camp.

The drone image virtually led the forces into a trap. The suspicion about the images grew when it was discovered that the presumed Naxal camp was a nondescript village.

“Several huts and human movement were captured by the UAV cameras in Teriwal village. So it was presumed that it could be a Naxal camp,” a government source said.

Chhattisgarh inspector general of police (Bastar range) T. J. Longkumer said: “Given all the factors, the operation was successful. I will not be able to comment on the UAV images. But it is very difficult to differentiate between a Naxal hideout and a normal settlement.” Continue reading

Indian Army to share “anti-terror” skills with foreign states

[India is pressing forward in its assigned role as sub-imperialist and regional hegemonic power.  Militarily, it is taking the lead in military training of surrounding countries.  Of special note is that the countries requesting this training in “counter-insurgency” training include Nepal.  PM Bhattarai of Nepal is currently visiting India and making a series of agreements which revolutionary Maoists have characterized as betrayals of Nepal’s national sovereignty. — Frontlines ed.]

Friday, October 21, 2011
Ranikhet: For sharing its expertise in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations with friendly foreign countries, the Army will hold more than 15 international military exercises by the end of next year.

“During 2011-12, India is scheduled to undertake more than 15 international military exercises with different friendly and strategic nations and ‘Shakti 11’, a joint Indo-French military exercise is one of them,” Colonel P S Minhas, Director at the International Defence Cooperation cell, said here Friday.

Around 16?19 exercises and trainings with international friendly nations including Nepal have been scheduled to be held during this period.

The list of countries who want to train with the Indian Army includes the US, the UK, France, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Maldives, Seychelles, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. Continue reading

Leave Maoism, learn football in Germany

(Apparently, a West Bengal-government displacement of athletic adivasis rebels to Germany, disguised as a “clever” new counterinsurgency strategy, soccer.–ed)

Hindustan Times

Kolkata, June 22, 2010

GERMAN FOOTBALL

The West Bengal government is planning to send promising young footballers in three Maoist-infested districts to Germany to be trained by soccer club Bayern Munich. This is a bid to wean them away from the rebels, who have a strategy to rope young people in by casting a spell on them.

DGP Bhupinder Singh said: “We have decided to organise football matches in Maoist-dominated areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia to separate the common people from ultra influence.” “The best players will be sent at government expense to Germany to train with Bayern Munich,” Singh said. Continue reading