By the end of the second decade of the 21st century, the issue of the influence of terrorism on global development remains one of the most pressing and painful. The phenomenon of this problem of modernity requires much attention and in-depth studying. Among the most conflict-prone regions where terrorism is widespread, a special place is occupied by the areas of South Asia. The Republic of India that is one of the most significant states in this part of the world, suffers to a large extent from extremists’ actions. However, both today and in the past, this country witnessed the spread of various types of terrorism on its territory. One of the most influential groups in this region is the All Tripura Tiger Force, the movement whose activities are based on nationalistic claims. In this paper, the establishment of this alliance in India will be considered, the goals to which its leaders strive, the methods that the terrorists of the All Tripura Tiger Force resort to, as well as the current achievements of extremists.
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The actual causes of conflicts in India are different and range from the clash of regional and central authorities’ political ambitions to disputes over the redistribution of resources. Nevertheless, the trend is the transformation of interethnic differences into national-state confrontations. As a result, the alliance group All Tripura Tiger Force was formed, which is the liberation front but recognized as a terrorist movement that violates the laws of the country. Initially, the inhabitants of the state of Tripura were unhappy with land reforms that infringed upon the rights of the indigenous population and allowed significant freedoms to migrants. Subsequently, the confrontation acquired a nationalistic character, and the struggle for their religious and land rights became part of the activities of the All Tripura Tiger Force. As a result, the struggle has continued to the present, and attacks by belligerent revolutionaries occur periodically. This work is aimed at considering the activities of the All Tripura Tiger Force in the context of Indian history, as well as determining the ways of achieving the goals that the members of the opposition forces have set themselves.
The Establishment of the All Tripura Tiger Force
Tripura is a large Indian state located in the northeast of the country. The population is mainly made up of indigenous peoples, and various nationalities can be found here. Although the cultural and ethnic background of many people in Tripura is distinctive, the inhabitants of this area got along peacefully enough until the mid-20th century (Mohapatra, 2016, p. 450). Nevertheless, in 1949, the mass arrival of Bengalis began in this state, which caused mass protests of the indigenous population and the desire to oust migrants from their territory (Mohapatra, 2016, p. 453). From that moment on, the growth of Tripura nationalism began abruptly, and conflicts became part of the lives of local residents and migrants. As a result, the ethnic beliefs of the indigenous population led to the creation of a special popular liberation front, which was called the All Tripura Tiger Force and was formed as a movement to preserve national identity and freedoms. Since the background of contradictions was largely nationalistic in nature, active propaganda became an integral part of the rebel policy. As a result, the struggle became a severe problem within the country, and hostilities have continued to the present.
The formation of the people’s front became a mass idea for the people of Tripura, and subsequently, the movement gained strength due to the support of many citizens involved in the struggle. Despite the contradictions that arose among the two opposing camps, it was always difficult for the government to control them because the national identity was not the subject of property or trade. The impact on the rebels is unlikely to be potentially successful since the considerable resources that the All Tripura Tiger Force has posed a threat to national security. The gradual improvement of weapons and tactical schemes has led to the fact that today, the Indian rebel army and the United Bengal Liberation Front are dangerous factions (Mohapatra, 2016, p. 465). They are advanced enough in the context of military power to realize their potential effectively. Involvement in this struggle may threaten additional casualties from the civilian population and aggression from neighboring countries. As a result, the prerequisites of the formation of the All Tripura Tiger Force prove that nationalist ideas can be regarded as terrorism and pose a danger to the integrity of the country and the security of its inhabitants.
The Goals of the All Tripura Tiger Force
Since the confrontation in question between the All Tripura Tiger Force and the United Bengal Liberation Front is quite fierce, the goals of this struggle include actions that affect not only the two camps but also the country as a whole. According to Hausken, Banuri, Gupta, and Abbink (2015), the duration of activity for most terrorist organizations is limited since resources run out over time, and some ideological concepts often prove to be inconsistent (p. 59). Nevertheless, in relation to the situation in India, the confrontation has lasted for more than half a century, and the power of the rebel forces has not become less. This indicates that the ideas that terrorists adhere to have a serious meaning for them, and they are ready to do everything possible to realize their goals and preserve those beliefs that have been supported among them for decades.
The goals that the All Tripura Tiger Force pursues in the modern history of India prove that wars and revolutions based on ideology have a powerful background and significant consequences. Combs (2017) notes that terrorism is, as a rule, an act of performance that is played out for the public and serves as a means of achieving the desired result through effective playing (p. 638). However, given the scale of the struggle in the northeast of the country, it cannot be argued that terrorist acts committed by the rebels are indicative and not serious.
The key objectives that have significance for the leaders of the extremist group in question are associated with the traditional struggle for influence in specific territories and national domination. Despite the fact that terrorists do not set themselves the goal of overthrowing the current government, some of the consequences for the power of the authorities are felt. According to Mohapatra (2016), the participation of political leaders in tracking and resolving conflicts is associated with constant monitoring, and requirements for officials are often high because the situation in the country depends largely on the authorities’ ability to conduct competent work on the prevention of terrorist threats (p. 461). The activities of the All Tripura Tiger Force are based on nationalistic ideology. Therefore, the members of the group strive to receive as much support from the population as possible to have enough resources to achieve their goals. The leaders of rebel groups have authority among certain classes of civilians, which is a significant bonus in organizing the opposition movement. Engaging as many like-minded people as possible is one of the rebels’ goals.
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Another goal that the members of the terrorist group pursue is seeking respect from the authorities so that officials could take into account rebels’ demands. The lack of a productive dialogue exacerbates the situation significantly, and a tense situation is felt not only in the north of the country but throughout the state. Combs (2017) gives an example of concessions to which governments sometimes go to smooth out contradictions – the provision of separate territories, language laws, and other steps aimed at establishing interaction (p. 511). Nevertheless, in accordance with the course that the All Tripura Tiger Force promotes, terrorists, want the total domination of a single nation, which is an extremely strict requirement (Mohapatra, 2016, p. 456). As a result, the lack of understanding is the result of perennial struggles, and the methods chosen by rebels force the authorities to involve significant resources to counter.
The Methods of the All Tripura Tiger Force
The methods to which the members of the All Tripura Tiger Force adhere are detrimental to the integrity of India and may have significant international perspectives. Firstly, according to Gaharwar and Shah (2018), the policy of separatism promoted by this grouping may entail the division of the country, thereby weakening its political and economic power in the international arena and deteriorating relations with friendly powers (p. 1218). Secondly, there is a danger to the neighboring countries of the Asian region. As Hausken et al. (2015) note, the All Tripura Tiger Force is an organization that acts not as part of a unified army but as an independent force, and it is difficult to predict concrete steps taken by terrorist leaders (p. 60). Relationships with neighboring Nepal and Bangladesh may become even more aggravated due to the unlawful actions of the rebels and their desire for independence. As a result, the conflict within India can escalate into a larger confrontation, and further, the regular armies of different states may be involved in opposition. This outcome is highly undesirable since any armed conflicts today can cause massive tragedies due to developments in the field of tactical weapons.
The threat that the All Tripura Tiger Force carries in the context of the country’s integrity and security for neighboring states is severe due to the availability of sufficient resources and the support of some influential individuals promoting the nationalist movement. Many migrants move to India and become the object of separatists’ persecution. To avoid such practices, peacekeeping forces can help the authorities to solve the problem. However, the constantly growing number of rebels shows considerable resistance, and regular terrorist acts indicate extremists’ serious intentions to continue defending their idea. Due to a certain geographical location away from the main Indian territories, Tripura’s connection with the outside world is rather limited (Mohapatra, 2016, p. 457). Terrorists, in turn, use this feature for their own benefit by establishing chains of weapons and promoting ideas among civilians. The involvement of local people is often successful since due to poor infrastructure, which does not allow developing the economics in general and tourism in particular, as well as high unemployment, most Tripurians live in poverty (Mohapatra, 2016, p. 458). Therefore, the method of interaction with the local population is one of the group’s strengths.
In addition to involving the local population, the All Tripura Tiger Force also uses other locations. In particular, terrorists maintain work on placing their rear bases in Bangladesh, where they also have like-minded people. In general, advocacy is one of the most common activities because, in general, despite the periodic replenishment of ammunition, the group’s arsenal is not diverse (Mohapatra, 2016, p. 456). Extremists do not have heavy armament, and the possibility of organizing terrorist acts is the only means of counteracting the government and opponents. However, the lack of modern weapons does not stop the members of the All Tripura Tiger Force. Terrorists act both covertly, planning explosions and other methods of covert attack, and openly appearing in large crowds of people. Moreover, extremists address requirements directly to the authorities and take responsibility for all the victims as a result of their criminal activities. Therefore, it can be argued that the members of the All Tripura Tiger Force do not operate underground and use all the possible methods of attracting attention.
The Achievements of the All Tripura Tiger Force
When assessing the achievements of the All Tripura Tiger Force, it can be noted that this group has sufficiently extensive to promote all its terrorist activities. This, in turn, affects the situation in the country since the foreign trade of the revolutionary armies with allies complicates control over cash flows. In addition, illegal arms supply and migration activities force responsible government agencies to raise additional funds to eliminate these violations (Combs, 2017, p. 451). As a result, the country has large expenditures that could be directed to more useful needs. As Gaharwar and Shah (2018) argue, some stakeholders are convinced that certain authorities in India sponsor terrorist activities and transfer funds to their support, thereby weakening the budget (p. 1220). Thus, the economic implications of the course maintained by the All Tripura Tiger Force allow the group to develop its criminal activities and engage as many people as possible.
In the context of social achievements, the All Tripura Tiger Force has reached success. Hausken and Gupta (2016) argue that the ideological orientation of terrorists is central, and due to an opportunity to involve new members, the sphere of extremists’ influence has increased, which proves using rear bases in neighboring Bangladesh (p. 86). Since the background of the conflict is a nationalist idea in relation to denying migrants access to the country and empowering indigenous people, large-scale class oppositions emerge. Despite the fact that, according to Mohapatra (2016), classical sociology does not attach much importance to ethnicity as an extremely crucial factor, in India, this issue has become very acute (p. 452). The division of society into separate national minorities indicates the lack of effective policies to support the entire population. Those terrorist acts committed by the group in question allow asserting that the discontent is so strong that the opposition forces are ready to go to any length to achieve their rights.
The task of the government is to determine whether the demands of the rebels are legitimate. However, in the current situation, it is extremely difficult to come to a consensus. Many threats and dangers have come from the All Tripura Tiger Force, and in order for peace at this territory to recover, not only the desire of both parties are essential but also the admission of mistakes. According to Combs (2017), supporting violence cannot be seen as the method of achieving goals and the way of planting a particular ideology; nevertheless, terrorists often resort to such principles (p. 436). As a result, the social implications of counteraction are significant, and not only the parties involved in the war suffer losses but also civilians who are forced to witness this fierce struggle under constraint. Therefore, despite the lack of significant achievements in relation to territorial division and recognition of the demands made by rebels, they have support among certain classes of the population, which allows them to promote their ideas and not to stop criminal activities.
Potential Mitigation Policies
Measures aimed at alleviating the situation in Tripura should be taken immediately to exclude further casualties among the population and strengthen the positions of the authorities. According to Mohapatra (2016), “the counter-insurgency, development and democratic governance in Tripura is an exemplary model of a holistic response that other states can replicate” (p. 467). These steps can be effective countermeasures to terrorists due to the importance of each of the measures to resolve the conflict. Fighting the rebels of the All Tripura Tiger Force should not violate the norms of the world principles of warfare. Development should be aimed at improving the situation with regard to immigrant policies and strengthening the status of indigenous peoples of India. Finally, democratic governance granted to the people of Tripura can be a mechanism for achieving consensus. Full freedom is unacceptable since the separation of the region is fraught with the loss of India’s position in the international arena and mass discontent. However, the competent policy of the distribution of powers and the inclusion of local members in the government may allow eliminating aggression and help in building relationships between the warring parties.
The assessment of the activities of the All Tripura Tiger Force helps to find some common factors that encourage rebels to wage hostilities and bring significant damage. An ideological criterion based on nationalistic ideas is one of the common causes of conflicts, and the situation in India proves that such forms of disagreement can have a long history. The goals that terrorists set are based on the desire to control the territory of Tripura and gain domination. As methods, periodic attacks on civilians occur, and, despite the limited military potential, human resources are significant. Involving a large number of people in criminal activities is one of the group’s main achievements. Appropriate mitigation policies may help improve tensions and coordinate the efforts of the authorities. Effective counter-insurgency, sustainable development, and ensuring democracy can be effective ways of dealing with the aggression of the All Tripura Tiger Force. In general, extremists’ actions do not differ by a unique approach to the organization of criminal activities and are the example of grouping established as a result of dissatisfaction with social order and the rights and freedoms granted by the state.
Combs, C. C. (2017). Terrorism in the twenty-first century (8th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Gaharwar, R. D., & Shah, D. B. (2018). Application of centrality principles for terrorist network role analysis. International Journal of Scientific Research in Science and Technology (IJSRST), 4(2), 1216-1221.
Hausken, K., Banuri, S., Gupta, D. K., & Abbink, K. (2015). Al Qaeda at the bar: Coordinating ideologues and mercenaries in terrorist organizations. Public Choice, 164(1-2), 57-73. doi:10.1007/s11127-015-0261-z
Hausken, K., & Gupta, D. K. (2016). Determining the ideological orientation of terrorist organisations: The effects of government repression and organised crime. International Journal of Public Policy, 12(1-2), 71-97. doi:10.1504/IJPP.2016.075229
Mohapatra, G. (2016). Ethnic conflict and development: The case of north-east region with special reference to Manipur and Tripura. Indian Journal of Public Administration, 62(3), 449-470. doi:10.1177/0019556120160308