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Chinar Doctrine
Time has come for a working relationship between the army, academia and the media
Here is the ultimate irony about the Rashtriya Rifles (RR). On 6 May, 2010, the US overall forces commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus was honoured with the Irving Kristol Award by the American Enterprise Institute in Washington for his contribution to the US Counter-Insurgency (COIN) field manual. In 2005, General Petraeus left Iraq and was sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to write this manual to comprehend the sea-change in war-fighting: from doing combat to balancing between combat and community operations, which is the essence of COIN.

Three years earlier before Petraeus’ celebration, in January 2007, India’s defence minister, A.K. Antony released the Army’s ‘sub-conventional warfare doctrine’ with little fanfare. This encapsulated the RR’s two decade journey in finally thwarting Pakistan’s attack-by-infiltration strategy. While Petraeus wrote the manual, the Indian Army, in its RR avatar, bearing the ups and downs had perfected the balance between combat and community operations.
Yet in 2010, the government was seriously deliberating on the very need for the RR, the 80,000 strong force which is probably the largest COIN force in the world. Pressed by the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah, the Union home ministry argued that to dispense with the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AF[SP]A), the RR, which wholly operates in the troubled state should be replaced by the paramilitary and state police forces.
As the RR was ordered to be raised as a temporary force in 1987 under Union Composite Table Part II, it can be dissolved with a government order.

The Army Headquarters made frenetic presentations on why the extreme step was premature. It said that as long as unaccounted money comes into the Valley, terrorism would not abate. The RR had painstakingly minimised infiltration across the LC, established intelligence grids in the border belt, provided succour in rural areas, and working closely with other agencies had put the terrorists, Over-Ground Workers (OGWs) and fence-sitters under pressure. With RR gone, and the CRPF dependant on the state police already groaning with numbers constraint, the Valley could once again erupt into uncontrolled violence.

What the army did not say aloud was RR’s critical role in war with Pakistan. Being a temporary force, if the RR, which is army by another name, was disbanded, its 80,000 numbers would no longer be available to the regular army for the LC war. With depleted strength, the army will have difficulty in both defence-in-depth and rear security. On the one hand, the army’s number advantage compared with Pakistan in J&K would dissipate. On the other hand, the Pakistan Army would hamper Indian Army’s operations with its proven irregular (terrorists) forces. Thus, on Antony’s intervention, the RR mandate for another three years, till 2013, was cleared by the government.
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