ILPS Statement on Operation Greenhunt and the US-India Military Partnership

By Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) joins the Indian people in condemning the increasing collaboration between the US imperialists and the Indian reactionaries in further opening up the Indian economy to imperialist exploitation and plunder, while escalating and strengthening the military partnership between the US and Indian governments to further suppress the resistance of the Indian people and serve US geopolitical objectives.

The recent India visit by US President Obama is aimed at firming up this collaboration with the Indian ruling classes while encouraging and egging on the Indian government to further commit to aligning with US strategic interests. The US seeks to turn India into its junior economic and military partner in South Asia, especially as an outpost and counterfoil to China in the region.

Significantly, the Obama visit has been timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the launching by the Indian government of the massive military counterinsurgency campaign that has come to be known as “Operation Greenhunt”. On November 11, 2009, the Indian government unleashed more than 100,000 army, police, paramilitary and special commando troops against its own people, mostly in tribal areas in several states in Eastern and Central India, and especially in areas suspected to be strongholds of Maoist revolutionaries known as “Naxalites”.

The purported objective of Operation Greenhunt is to clear these areas , once and for all, of guerrilla insurgents. But these states — Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra and Orissa where millions of tribal people or adivasis live — are covered by hundreds of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between the government and multinationals for mining and other so-called “development” projects which the tribals and other Indian people are protesting against and resisting, betraying the real object of further opening up Indian natural resources to the plunder of foreign monopoly capital and their local comprador agents.

Operation Greenhunt has resulted in widespread and rampant human rights violations against those suspected of being sympathetic to, allied or affiliated with the Naxalites, and against the tribals or adivasis resisting eviction from their ancestral lands and the entry of multinational corporations raring to mine iron ore, bauxite and coal and build steel, aluminum and other industries. Hundreds of thousands, especially from tribal communities have been forcibly displaced. The military clearing operations have invariably been characterized by assassinations, arrests, tortures, arson, rape and other atrocities.

US-Indian military partnership has grown by leaps and bounds over the past fifteen years since the collapse of the USSR, with whom India hitherto had close military ties, and the signing of the first MoU between the US and Indian governments in 1995, and more especially since 2001 when the US stepped up aggression and intervention in the Middle East and Central Asia. India now holds more joint military exercises with the US than with any other country, with the exercises becoming bigger and more complex. India had agreed to buy USD 10 billion worth of military hardware from the US the past two years. Obama is expected to persuade India to purchase another USD 11 billion worth of warplanes and exclusivity in military partnership. Meanwhile, US- India trade had ballooned from USD 5 billion in 1990 to USD 50 billion this year.

Indian authorities have announced that US counterinsurgency experts are “advising” the Indian security forces on the campaign strategy and tactics of Operation Greenhunt. They have adopted the “winning hearts and minds” approach and the “clear-hold-consolidate-develop” counterinsurgency formula widely used in Vietnam and supposedly refined out of the recent experiences in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries where the US had intervened military to quell people’s armed resistance to reactionary puppet regimes. It is noteworthy that in August 2002, then US State Secretary Colin Powell offered the Nepalese King and Prime Minister US assistance in crushing the Nepalese revolutionaries, declaring that “Maoist insurgencies… are really the kind of thing we’re fighting all over the world”

Despite the massive nationwide military offensive with US backing, Operation Greenhunt has dismally failed in its objectives of isolating and crushing the Naxalites, intimidating the tribals and clearing the areas to give way to the multinationals’ operations and so-called development projects. The state security forces have suffered a string of dramatic setbacks in several states, including attacks on police district headquarters and ambushes where scores of troops were annihilated and their weapons confiscated by the revolutionary guerrillas.

Operation Greenhunt has earned widespread condemnation by the Indian people as well as internationally. Many quarters even within the Indian government have objected to plans of throwing in more army troops and using warplanes against the tribals and the Naxalite guerrillas. As in other countries where the people have resolutely put up armed resistance against the reactionary regime and its imperialist masters, Operation Greenhunt and the counterrevolutionary connivance between US imperialism and the Indian ruling classes are bound to fail.

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