RAIPUR: The lack of prompt and effective leadership seems to have led to tragic consequences in the virtual war zone where a joint party of troopers returning from the planned operation got trapped in the Maoist ambush resulting in the fatality of 22 personnel in Bijapur, south Bastar on Saturday.
The feedback received from ground zero of the Maoist attack suggests lapses, but it equally reflects a “tactical lethargy”.
There were reports that the troopers while returning, had entered the village without cordoning it first. Questions also arise if the prerequisites of effective leadership and the firm mentoring of the troops during the field operation were well-coordinated on the ground.
The village should have been primarily avoided while returning from the operation as the invisible network of Maoists consistently following the movement of forces remains a known fact. Further, the troopers not opting for the walk on the hillock ridge lines is again open to question since such decision evidently turn detrimental when the Maoists secure a better position at the height to manoeuvre when they target the forces.
The jawans choice of the lower routes in the jungle topography is against the rules and it further throws doubt on the commands followed.
Good leadership on the frontline, according to the guerrilla warfare experts, ensures the following of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) with no rules of warfare violated.
“There are lovely hillock ridgelines where the forces could have easily walked, maintained a suitable height that can be used as a navigational aid in the stronghold of Maoists. In the combat zone, a good leadership command with a vision and apt training assume much significance for the forces”, said Brigadier (Rtd) B K Ponwar, a jungle warfare expert, who has so far trained over 36,000 security personnel belonging to central and the various state forces at his combat training college in Kanker district, north Bastar.