The Red Elephant in the Room

Stream: Panel 76 - International Relations: Counter-insurgency 
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 11.00 am – 12.30 pm


The end of the Cold War reduced the focus on communism. However in South and Southeast Asia communist insurgencies continue to attempt to provide a counter position to the government. One such insurgency is the Communist Party of India-Maoist, also known as the Naxalites. This paper will explore the nature and characteristics of the CPI-M and the best practices of government. Government and industry best practices are grounded in both counter insurgency theory and government policies. Counter insurgency best practice is based around the primacy of politics and the competition between the government and insurgency regarding the hearts and minds of the population. The two concepts are highly accepted as being part of the discipline of counter insurgency. The current government of India has taken a security first approach based on the use of military or police forces in preference to economic incentives. This is not to say the incentives established by previous governments are not used in conjunction with the security forces. The aim of this section is to consider the actions of the Indian government and whether their policies provide the greatest utility. The final element which will be discussed is the question of ‘so what’? The main purpose of the question is to determine the implications of the application of best practices to the insurgency and potential use of the policy initiatives to communist insurgencies in other states.


Helen Sellers (Presenter), University of Canberra
Helen Sellers is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra researching the relationship between India and Australia in the maritime security domain. She holds a Graduate Certificate of Law from ANU and an MPICT and MISS and a Bachelor of Art in Politics and International Relations from Macquarie University. Her primary research interests include: maritime security, the Indian Ocean and political philosophy.