"Counter Insurgency (COIN) Operations – The Do’s & Don’ts"

Counter Insurgency (COIN) Operations - The Do’s & Don’ts


Counter Insurgency needs a long term view - need for Military action to provide security for undertaking the necessary Politico – Economic measures – clear Rules of Engagement and definition of End State – understand the Do’s & Don’ts.

Quotations for consideration:

  • “We all have to be concerned about terrorism, but you will never end terrorism by terrorizing others.” - Martin Luther King III .
  •  “We give express charge, that in our marches through the country, there be nothing compelled from the villages, nothing taken but paid for, none of the locals upbraided or abused in disdainful language; for when lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom, the gentler gamester is the soonest winner.” - William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act III Scene 6.
  • “A merely fallen enemy may rise again, but the reconciled one is truly vanquished.” - Johan C. Shiller .

Key concepts:

  • Counter Insurgency (COIN) is the comprehensive civilian and military effort taken to simultaneously defeat and contain insurgency and thereby address its root causes.  
  • In dealing with any insurgency we need to remember that the time scale of counter-insurgency is simply too long. We need to be clear about our objectives and the methodology to be followed to attain to the desired ‘End State’. If we are not winning, then we are losing. We are then in the midst of a low grade, prolonged civil war.
  • We should be clear on our strategy – what is it that we are trying to do? How are we trying to do it – that is, what course of action to pursue? What sorts of resources – people, time, and money – are likely to be required to reach those goals? One good way to undertake such a review would be to seek out dissenting views, probing differences inside the administration, especially those between civilian and military officials and then arriving at the actions to be taken.

“Haziness about ends and means, about what to do and how to do it, is a mark of strategic ineptitude; in war it gets you killed” – Dr. Elliot Cohen .

“Short term approach to long term problems generate multiple short term plans that often confuse activity with progress” – Col. H.R. McMaster .

Don’t let hope posing as a plan be your strategy. If you can’t explain your campaign plan, you probably don’t have one. We need a real strategy built around the principles of counter insurgency warfare as recognized in the many such campaigns in the past and as so succinctly put by those who tackled the insurgency in Iraq.

  • There should be clear ‘Rules of Engagement (ROE)’ and a clear vision of an attainable ‘End State’ before we engage in any action.

ROE which call for – not opening fire till fired upon or till the enemy is positively identified beyond all doubt and having undisputed proof of his intentions, are unimplementable and represent a danger to the soldiers


Total votes: 0


This is a wonderful article, i really appreciate this.

I think an excellent in depth analysis of the problem for which we need to find a solution soon if we have to progress!Vested interests give it a religious flavour so that no solution can be found.Any IDEAz?

Dear Vinay, Thanks for taking the time to read the post and getting back to me. I am glad you found the post interesting and worth serious consideration. Yes we do need leaders who will take up the Ideaz and work to implement them.Join me in trying to get our Leaders to notice… Best Wishes..P.T.

I always thought the Pakistani designs were aimed at amassing more territory. The water angle is not known to a vast majority of Indians. Very educative and informative – May this be out in the childrens text books – Maybe made mandatory reading for the politicians as well.

Dear Sateesh, Thanks! I’m glad you found some new view point in the article. Today this water angle has come into the public awareness and as such you will find Pakistanis now talking about it in their threats to India.We need to be able to use it to our advantage.something like being able to tell them-”You cause trouble in our living room, we will make your kitchens & baths dysfunctional!” Do read some of the other articles too. I’m sure you will find them equally stimulating with a different slant on what you thought you knew. As regards the UN Resolutions- see the Annexure to the Article. Best Wishes.. P.T.

Dear Vikram, Thanks for your encouraging comments. Please do read the other Articles too. I would appreciate comments that may help me to make the Article even better… Best Wishes… P.T.Choudary.
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