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Scenario: Maoist Insurgency in Nepal - the Maoists win

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posted on Dec, 20 2004 @ 04:15 PM
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Quick Introduction:
Hi, new to this forum. I've been lurking, and I enjoyed the "what if.." threads, and I wanted to create a more realistic alternative to the"India tries to liberate Tibet from China," so I decided to float this idea to everyone.

The quick synopsis - the Maoists are on the verge of winning, and are soon to install a pro-China communist regime, replacing the historically pro-India Nepalese government. India decides to militarily intervene, and China decides to counter.

Background:
(Adapted from Jane's Foreign Report, Nov. 11, 2004)

Maoists are winning

In May 2002, the scale of the Maoist revolt forced panicked politicians to dissolve parliament. King Gyanendra has rotated prime ministers at a rate of one a year, most recently reinstating Deuba.

Beyond the protective rim of the Kathmandu Valley basin the Maoists control or contest every district. The 72 towns and villages that form the headquarters of districts beyond the valley are often in a state of practical siege, sometimes supplied by helicopter. Several times, most recently at Beni in March, the rebels have overrun such outposts in mass-casualty assaults. Similar attacks are likely in the future.

The few major roads are under government control, but insecure. The capital itself could be put under a limited siege if the Maoists attacked the principal, fragile mountain road that supplies it. This is a strategy they tested with simple threats for five days in August.

Foreign Intervention

As they enter the end game, the Maoists are becoming increasingly concerned about Indian intervention, as well they might. The southern giant is finally waking up to the Maoist threat. India is supplying guns, helicopters and military vehicles to Nepal. The Maoists are threatening them with never-ending tunnel warfare if they dare invade.

If India intervened directly, the possibility arises that they might use their Gurkha regiments. The famed infantrymen are drawn from the same stock as the ineffectual Nepalese army: a vivid illustration of the importance of training and leadership.

Britain and the US have also supplied weapons and training, and Nepal receives generous financial assistance from abroad.

The government has rejected even UN mediation, and would not welcome foreign troops, even Gurkhas. But in the end, it may be their last line of defence. A Maoist Brigadier, when asked how long it would take to overcome the government, says: "If there is no outside interference it may take two or three years... if they had not been supplied with weapons the army would have collapsed already."

The Scenario

In the near future (say, spring of 2005), the Nepalese government is days from collapse. Plagued by equipment shortages, and demoralized by a string of defeats, the Nepalese military and police forces face mass desertion and mutiny. The Maoist rebels are preparing for their final offensive on the capital and the surrounding areas in the Kathmandu Valley. Hoping to avoid a bitter last-stand urban fight with loyalists, the Maoists issue an ultimatium, calling for the abdication of the king and unconditional surrender.

India, alarmed by the possibility of another Chinese client state on it's border, goes to the UN to seek intervention, and forestall the fall of the fall of the current government. All Indian proposals are easily swatted down by China's UNSC veto. Pakistan objects vehemently, arguing that this "would be a precursor to Indian aggression elsewhere." The US and UK voice support for Indian intervention, while ASEAN, Japan, Russia, and the EU remain silent. However, Chinese pressure prevents the US and UK from commiting more than token diplomatic and material support.

With only lukewarm US and UK support, India, seeking to "prevent a humanitarian crisis", sends light armor and infantry units to occupy the capital. They are soon engaged in direct combat with Maoist forces. Despite superior traning and equipment, the Indian army finds itself in a bloody stalemate with battle-hardened rebels forces employing guerilla tactics. India gradually escalates, committing artillery, air assets, more armor and more infantry. The Maoists, now unable to win direct confrontations, retreat to the countryside.

In the meantime, China is supporting the insurgency with weapons, air and satellite intelligence, and military observers, effectively fighting a war with China by proxy. While unofficial, this fact is an open secret to both sides, and both China and India are whipped up into a nationalistic fervor. The rhetoric grows increasingly harsh as long-standing grievances are brought back into play. The PLA faction of China's leadership itches for war, and a hawkish elements of the BJP and INC form a pro-war alliance in India.

Finally, an incident happens - Indian fighter-bombers destroy a supply convoy from China bound for Nepal, while the convoy is still in (disputed) Chinese territory, inflicting twenty PLA casualties. Chinese public sentiment explodes, lionizing the dead as "glorious martyrs." The Chinese internet is aflame, and Chinese and Indian hackers are already in a all-out cyberwar, critically damaging the operations of government agencies and major corporations.

It is politically impossible for the Chinese government not to retaliate - the Chinese public will not accept it. The PLA faction is agitating for war. The US and UK evacuate their Nepalese staff.

What does China do? What is India's response?

Start speculating!

Some ground rules:

Please stay on topic. Facts and figures about road infrastructure are fine (as long as their relevance is explained), but cell phone penetration and McDonalds are probably not.

Please make sure the actions you propose are politically feasible. Among other things, please keep in mind (in no particular order):

1. Beijing Olympics in 2008, Shanghai World Expo in 2010
2. ASEAN's aspiration to be come a influential independent entity.
3. Pakistan
4. Nepalese popular sentiment - the current government is considered inept and corrupt, while the Maoists are often cruel - arbitary laws, forced conscription.
5. Current Indian attempts to become an UNSC member.




posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 04:51 AM
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Hmm...realistic scenario.....Will post more later

The Chinese will definetly attack,despite the 2008 olympics, the pressure from the people gets the Chinese government to send in their best forces, hoping to repel the Indians quickly without heavy losses. The Indian army is overwhelmed at first,but quickly sends in more troops and heavy weaponry. A Pakistani recon plane gets shot down over India,bringing Pakistan into the war on China's side. Russia stays neutral,hoping to avoid a war with China. The US and UK pump in more supplies and gives training to the Indians,While China supplies Pakistan and the Maoists with better equipment.



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 08:48 AM
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Extremely interesting scenario. I can give you some inside facts, since a friend of mine went this year to Nepal on a research expedition (he was to study the local bear population) and came back with some very interesting news. First of all, the Maoist threat is much more widespread than previously thought: the research expedition had to content itself with the Barum Valley National Park, since all the other areas slated for research are either occupied by insurgents or at risk of Maoist raids. Second, the officers in Kathmandu don't seem to appreciate the situation in full: while forbidding foreigners to enter dangerous areas, they seem to have an imperfect knowledge of the true extent of the Maoists' power. In short, they underrated the menace and paid for it very dearly. Third: with the global medias all bent on the Iraqi situation, most people are completely ignorant of the gravity of the situation. Most still see Nepal as a peaceful, sleepy country in the middle of the Himalaya.
What are the future options, so? You rightly undermarked that Indian troops will probably be employed in the near future, maybe under UN sanction. You also rightly remarked that China will not stay at the window and watch. According to me, this is a possible scenario. The foreign powers will not do anything until Kathmandu is under direct threat from the Maoist army. The western media will continue to ignore the country and China will continue to back the insurgents, or at least turn a blind eye on them. When Kathmandu will be under direct threat (maybe a couple of years, maybe less), and the Nepalese government will be forced to ask for international help. This will be VERY nasty: India will undoubtely answer to the call immediately, probably with UN sanction, while China will say that they are not pleased with all these foreign troops swarming over a neighbouring country. Pakistan will probably back China up, at least in the UN, while the US and their allies will be caught between devil and the deep blue sea. On one side they would like to strenghten their relationships with India and all the other "non-aligned" Asian countries (which will most probably back India and even send help), on the other side they won't risk straining relationships with China and Pakistan. Pakistan is a precious ally for the US, while China is a superb trading partner for all Western countries. The battle will most probably be fought 99% on politic grounds and will be, most probably, ended by a masterful stroke by one of the parties involved. I am almost tempted to think that China will catch all the other parties unprepared: they will turn their backs overnight to the insurgents and send large numbers of troops to Nepal to help the "legitimate" government. Think about it: if acting under UN sanction, they would win international approval. The US will most likely support them, and this would help strenghtening the ties between the two countries. Pakistan will also be very pleased by this situation. Of course India will not see this as a selfless act: Chinese troops will most likely take over the country (under UN sanction), the Nepalese government will most likely become a Chinese ally overnight and hostile troops will control more of India's borders. Not a nice situation if you ask me.



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 02:09 PM
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After indian reponse, the chinese feel their is enough pretext and momentum to try include the small kingdom of Bhutan in the conquest, which is independant, but politically overtly indo-centric....This is very unacceptable to the indians, because with Bhutan in hands you could esily seperate the eastern part from the western part of india, Delhi will grab the hotline like good old Kennedy and warns about "severe" consequences. The Chinese , who actually anticipated this, will give back Bhutan as trademoney and Chinese get to keep Nepal, everybody happy because the war didn't go nuclear, except some Nepalese people ....

Meanwhile China continues to promote "silent" assimilation by promoting chinese immigrants to the Asian part of Russia (now the 4th greatest ethnic minority in Russia) and even more so in Burma and also through heavy investments in companies / local political parties etc....


We even start to feel some Chinese influence in Holland, Dutch companies begin to ask helpdeskagents that speak english and Mandarin, they are outsourcing the IT jobs back to Europe LOL



[edit on 21-12-2004 by Countermeasures]



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 02:52 PM
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Originally posted by Kakugo
When Kathmandu will be under direct threat (maybe a couple of years, maybe less), and the Nepalese government will be forced to ask for international help. This will be VERY nasty: India will undoubtely answer to the call immediately, probably with UN sanction, while China will say that they are not pleased with all these foreign troops swarming over a neighbouring country. Pakistan will probably back China up, at least in the UN, while the US and their allies will be caught between devil and the deep blue sea. On one side they would like to strenghten their relationships with India and all the other "non-aligned" Asian countries (which will most probably back India and even send help), on the other side they won't risk straining relationships with China and Pakistan. Pakistan is a precious ally for the US, while China is a superb trading partner for all Western countries.


I agree with everything except your prediction of non-aligned Asian countries backing India. The only two countries I can think of that have the power-projection to be remotely useful are Australia and Singapore. Australia won't move without US approval, and Singapore won't move at all - it's still trying to get back into the good graces of China after its diplomatic mission to Taiwan.

As for the ASEAN nations, there's no way they would support India militarily. First of all, they don't have the capability, and secondly, they don't want to. The most I can see them doing is expressing diplomatic "concern", and maybe donating money to the Red Cross, or sending a few, unarmed, humanitarian missions.

So maybe Australia. But even Australia will probably not back India, as it tries to pursue greater integration with the East Asian economy.


The battle will most probably be fought 99% on politic grounds and will be, most probably, ended by a masterful stroke by one of the parties involved. I am almost tempted to think that China will catch all the other parties unprepared: they will turn their backs overnight to the insurgents and send large numbers of troops to Nepal to help the "legitimate" government. Think about it: if acting under UN sanction, they would win international approval. The US will most likely support them, and this would help strenghtening the ties between the two countries. Pakistan will also be very pleased by this situation. Of course India will not see this as a selfless act: Chinese troops will most likely take over the country (under UN sanction), the Nepalese government will most likely become a Chinese ally overnight and hostile troops will control more of India's borders. Not a nice situation if you ask me.


Interesting scenario - China decides to back the legitimate government against the Maoists. Five years ago I would have said you're crazy, but the current Chinese leadership is proving quite capable of surprises. I still think this is very unlikely - I feel the Chinese would rather use the same strategies they employed in Vietnam and Korea. Using Maoist rebels to grind down the Indian army seems like an attractive proposition to me. Besides, "betraying" communist brothers might not go down well with the Chinese army or the people.

But let's see. China wants the EU to lift its arms ban. It also wants to build credibilty and trust with Central Asian nations, which, among other things, are hothouses of Islamic fundamentalism and energy-rich. If it decides to back the "legitimate" government, it can cast itself as a responsible power, and soothe accusations of being expansionistic. With that leverage, it can greatly increase its repuatation and trust in the area, lift the EU weapons ban, and set a precedent for benevolent intervention in Asia - establishing it as a de facto regional power. It would then have greater licence to establish bases, militarily intervene, and complete its strategic encirclement of India.

Hmm...



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 04:57 PM
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Of course, China doesn't need to hunt down the rebels. They may offer them some kind of "amnesty" and tell the world they are winning the war with popular measures. Probably a few firebrand chiefs will be captured and executed or forced into hiding, but the vast majority of the Maoists' leadership will get away with it, mainly because China will need them in the Nepalese administration after the war. Having the former "bad guys" lay down their weapons and taking an active part in the political life of a country is always very good for your image, especially if they campaign for social peace and a vigorous rebuilding program. Of course, this program will be mainly entrusted to Chinese companies. China doesn't even need to fight the insurgents in first place: they just have to act as "peacemakers", using their troops to ensure the end of fighting and ensure "order", while they promote peace talks between the Nepalese government and the Maoist movement. This is even better than fighting: they would be even more praised for their tactful handling of such a difficult situation. I am almost sure the insurgents would cease fighting the same day Chinese troops enter Nepal and quietly sit around a table. This would be even better, since ALL rebels would be eligible for a pardon and their integration into the Nepalese political system would be quicker and much less painful.




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