Weekly Geopolitical Report – India’s Maoist Problem (October 28, 2013)

by Kaisa Stucke & Bill O’Grady

India has fought numerous wars with outside forces in its history and has also had several internal conflicts.  The most notorious civil struggle has been the conflict with Kashmir insurgents, a border conflict between India and Pakistan that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.  So it generally came as a surprise when the Indian Prime Minister Manmohn Singh declared the Maoist movement in the eastern part of the country to be the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by India.

The Indian Maoist movement can be traced back to the 1920s; however, the Naxalite group became a formal movement in 1967 after it became actively violent.  The group was inspired by the agrarian revolution ideology as a means to achieve equality.  The long-term goal of the organization is to capture political power by violently overthrowing the Indian state.  Although the central government has boosted efforts in the fight against these extremists, the group has spread to involve about a third of India’s territory.  The Naxalites are considered far-left radical communists and are declared a terrorist group under Indian law.

In this report we will look into the Maoist movement in India, starting with its history.  We will then explore how the movement has survived centralized efforts to eradicate it, paying special attention to the unique context of Indian society and politics.  We will conclude by assessing the likelihood of the group’s success and the global geopolitical consequences.

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