Days after refusing to enter the conflict, India’s military may not have a choice now. Early this morning, in the heart of the Red Corridor, an estimated 1,000 Naxalite guerrillas crashed into a 100 member unit of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) patrolling the Mukrana forests, wiping out at least 73.
India has been shocked and awed. We tried to warn it.
Worst still, the CRPF forces were apparently baited into a trap. Indian officials call them “savages.” Perhaps, but expert guerrillas nonetheless.
"Government of Chattisgarh and CRPF together had planned this operation,” said Home minister P Chidambara shortly after the dawn attack. “They had mobilized both the state forces and the CRPF but something has gone drastically wrong. They seem to have walked into a trap set by Naxalites.”
Today will certainly alter the direction of the war, a war with growing regional implications. How exactly is more difficult to say, but a crackdown is logical and the military’s participation seems inevitable. These moves could further inflame the insurgency though if unilateral.
A wiser move would be coming to terms with Pakistan and Kashmir. The Naxalite insurgency isn’t going out any time soon.