Enticing the Maoist Guerrilla – India’s Coin Strategy and Evolving Surrender and Rehabilitation Policy

Sajid F. Shapoo


Debates about the utility of different COIN models in the Indian scenario continue to evoke extreme reactions. Experts believe that Indian COIN efforts have invariably preferred trading “hearts and minds” approach with highly kinetic enemy centric tactics. It is argued that Indian security leadership feels that an enemy centric approach is best suited for Maoist insurgency, where the fear of population seceding from India is remote. India is blamed for not having a focused or a formal COIN strategy against the Maoist insurgency. It is only in the last decade that individual states have begun to harmonize their COIN responses with one another and with the Government of India (GoI) policies. A national surrender and rehabilitation policy were formulated in 2014; considered to be an important component of the new approach. Following federal guidelines, states have formulated their surrender policies. It may be myopic to assess these policies in isolation and these need to be evaluated in whole as a part of comprehensive COIN approach. The verdict till now is a mixed bag, while some states have tasted success with the scrupulous implementation of the new surrender policies, others have resorted to sham surrenders to shore up the numbers. Policies like surrender and rehabilitation can give a representative sense to the rebels that the government cares for them if they(rebels) are willing to shun the violent path. Proper implementation and timely disbursal of benefits add to the credibility of the policy and the government too. The multi-pronged approach of sustained military pressure, robust economic development program and a sensitive surrender cum rehabilitation policy stand to deliver favourable results in India’s fight against Maoist insurgency.


India; Insurgency; Surrender; Rehabilitation; COIN; Maoist; Naxalism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.33687/jsas.007.03.2959


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Journal of South Asian Studies
ISSN: 2307-4000 (Online), 2308-7846 (Print)
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