Electoral consideration can't be ignored: PC on Naxalism
Categorically ruling out the use of military to counter the Maoist threat, Home Minister P Chidambaram today suggesting government cannot be dictatorial as there ethical and electoral considerations involved.delhi Updated: May 11, 2010 22:08 IST
Categorically ruling out the use of military to counter the Maoist threat, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday suggesting government cannot be dictatorial as there ethical and electoral considerations involved.
Citing the example of Sri Lanka tackling the LTTE with use of its military might, Chidambaram said "when I was asked to do that in India, I said 'no'. We cannot do that in India because there is an ethical consideration to it.
"We are quite clear we cannot use, we ought not use the Army or the Air Force to battle the Maoist threat in India," he said.
Chidambaram said governments have to survive and also get re-elected and policymakers have to factor in all these before deciding on issues.
He was addressing a gathering of eminent strategic thinkers and diplomats at the release of a book 'The Long View from Delhi' written by Rear Admiral Raja Menon and Dr Rajiv Kumar.
The massacre of 76 CRPF jawans by Maoists in Chhattisgarh last month had brought up the demand from certain quarters for use of armed forces to tackle the Naxals.
While the Home Ministry had said that it was re-thinking on its strategy, the Defence Ministry warned against the use of the military against the Maoists.
The Home Minister said India had the capability to counter the Naxals militarily but it would not do so.
He said Naxalism was one of the three major problems plaguing the internal security of the country but it was "within our control" and there was a debate on the ways and means to contain it.
Chidambaram said the other two threats were insurgency in the North East and the terrorism from jihadi elements.
"Terrorism of jihadi variety is just one kind of terrorism. There are examples of terrorism from other religious groups, particularly extreme right wing Hindu religious groups and to some extent from Sikh groups. And there is enough talent within the government to tackle them," he added.
On jihadi terrorism, Chidambaram said it usually emanated from across the border in Pakistan but extended even beyond into the Middle East.
"Terrorism of the jehadi variety is really cross-border terrorism. Even the definition of cross-border terrorism has ... No longer does it cross our border and go into Pakistan. It goes beyond Pakistan. It now reaches a few Middle East countries," he added.
He said containing cross-border terrorism was more difficult compared to Northeast insurgency issues or Naxalism.
"I believe that the problem of insurgency in the Northeast is within our control. By and large, it is a problem that we can contain, control and resolve.
"Likewise Maoism or Naxalism is also within our control. We are still debating how to control it," he added.
First Published: May 11, 2010 22:04 IST