The essay 'Insurgent Groups act as a Challenge Opposing Nationalism' covers a nationalist perspective, the imminent threat posed by insurgency to a nation's progress and well-being hinges on discerning the underlying motives driving the utilization of such groups.

The essay 'Insurgent Groups act as a Challenge Opposing Nationalism' by Divyanshi Gangwani and Ritik Kumar covers a nationalist perspective, the imminent threat posed by insurgency to a nation's progress and well-being hinges on discerning the underlying motives driving the utilization of such groups. Nationalism as an ideology is a tool through which a nation grows and develops.

Through this ideology, the aim is that a nation's territorial integrity and sovereignty are ensured and prospered. According to international law territorial integrity stands for the framework of Independent states which acts as a bedrock for the sovereignty of states. As a nation prospers disputes and conflicts are inevitable in their occurrence, these disputes are not an impediment but rather an opportunity through which our relationship with our neighbouring states is enhanced which further benefits us as an emerging global leader.

As we progress towards becoming a leader in the Global South resolution of such disputes can help us in further bolstering our philosophy of neighbourhood first policy. But as society is evolving there is widespread use of insurgent groups by various countries under the pretext of Nationalism. As we dive into this article an analysis has been made identifying and analysing the use of insurgent groups from an Indian point of view.


Nationalism is a widespread and broad ideology that cannot be summarized in a few lines. The meaning of Nationalism may differ from person to person. Some feel giving a vote to a specific party, let’s say, X, may be considered a sign of nationalism because it’s working remarkably in building the nation's positive image as well as towards its internal security, according to this perception, nationalism is an ideology where the nation has a remarkable reputation globally where it is portrayed as a global leader. Thus, according to some nationalism is having an image as a global leader while for some it is the prosperity of their economy.

By these contentions, we can infer that every individual in this country has their own version of nationalism that differs from person to person. Despite having so many versions of nationalism in this country one thing that’s common among all is the betterment and wellbeing of the nation that they perceive through their own perspective.

Kautaliya in ancient times exemplified that “your neighbours are your natural enemy” This sentence exemplifies that you should not trust your neighbours. Is this statement still relevant in modern times?

India just concluded its first G20 Summit as a chairman with flying colours, and India celebrated it with the motto of Vasudev Kutumbkam. The summit was honoured by the presence of almost all leaders of the group. Beijing being an eminent member of the group saw the absentism of the Chinese premier although the presence was not mandatory but considering the history of India and China it hints that something is not right between both the nations. Also, apart from the member countries, there was a long list of guests under which Sheikh Hasina, President of Egypt but Pakistan being the neighbour of India was absent from the guest list. A neighbour with whom we have a traced love-hate relationship, where the similarities include not just our boundaries, but our culture, our food, and a little bit of our language too.

India shares a massive neighbourhood of 9 countries, with some we share a direct land boundary and with some, it’s maritime boundaries. The region is known as the subcontinent.

How did insurgent groups originate and nurture in India?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, insurgent groups refer to one that acts contrary to the established leadership (as of a political party, union, or corporation) or its decisions and policies. Although the use of insurgent groups is used as a medium through which political unrest is spread in countries it is imperative to highlight that all this depends upon the motive behind using such groups.

Insurgent groups have helped us to protect our interests with our neighbouring countries. Insurgent groups are those groups of people who try to subvert or displace the legitimacy of an establishment by usually using arms and guerilla warfare. It’s a form of warfare in which small, lightly armed groups use mobile tactics against a stronger opponent.

When China progressed as a nation its hunger for land simultaneously rose with it, and the first victim of this hunger was Tibet. For his act, China faced a strong protest, but all went in vain. Tension after China’s annexation of Tibet led to the 1962 war, which ended with India on the defeated side. To counter China’s presence in Tibet and help Tibet to regain its sovereignty, India had sown the seed of Establishment 22 an insurgent group which helped India and its security forces in various operations like OP Eagle, Blue Star and many more. India used them as a defence mechanism to counter China’s vicious plan threatening India’s territorial integrity and security. For instance, China’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh or the infamous Doklam issue.

Bangladesh liberation majorly had 2 lead heroes India and Mukti Bahini, post this a dawn of the friendly neighbourhood took place, but on 15 August 1975 when India was celebrating its 27th Independence Day, Bangabandhu was killed by a group of army officers. This led to political instability and military dominance. The act of supporting Shanti Bahani was both an opposing stance and a statement that India was not in favour of dictatorship and stood with democracy. The act by India can also be justified on the ground that they were vulnerable to political turbulence because of political instability in its neighbouring country.

KIO is an insurgent group fighting for the rights of the Kachin community against the military establishment in Myanmar. India had asked for their assistance when insurgency was at its peak in the Northeast. The armed separatists of Northeast, usually have their operational bases/ headquarters in Myanmar and Bhutan and India got a helping hand from the KIO that helps India to neutralize them from carrying out anti-India activities on Myanmar’s soil. They assist India in scrutinizing their financial sources by providing intelligence to the security forces about their drug and weapon business.

Violence occurs in the neighbouring country of India, Srilanka between the majority Sinhalese and the Tamilians, the news of Tamilians being tortured started circulating. The heat of this fire was felt by the Indian Tamilians too, who were ethnically similar to the Srilankan Tamils. Indian Government got pressure from within the nation to take a stand for the human rights of the Srilankan Tamils. India helped Prabhakaran and its Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). LTTE is an insurgent group which fights for the rights of Tamilians in Sri Lanka. Srilanka asked for help from Pakistan to resolve the internal disturbance that automatically compelled them to have their feet on the battleground which they had been avoiding for a very long time. The major reason for India to be a part of this conflict was to avoid a situation where this fire could spread to India not against Sinhalese but against its own government.

Assistance to the insurgent groups is usually provided when governments are not cooperating with each other or because of national interest or various other developmental projects.

By all this can an analogy be drawn that Pakistan using and supporting the insurgents’ groups in Kashmir and India’s assistance to the insurgents group, sets them on equal footing?

The answer is “A Big No” because the motive behind the use of such groups by India and Pakistan is different, Pakistan uses them to carve out a part of India’s territory and India’s sole purpose is national security. India uses them as a defensive measure not unlike Pakistan to create internal disturbance.

Since India has used such insurgent groups for its own benefit. It raises the question of whether India is justified in using insurgent groups for their national interest. If yes then if Pakistan uses this defense to justify their use of insurgent groups to spread terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of India?

The experts in the field of International Relations opine that the use of these insurgent groups by Pakistan in comparison to India where India's ideology behind the support of such groups is National Security and the use of such groups by India is a Defensive measure unlike Pakistan whose motive behind using them is part of an Offensive measure.


As we have discussed nationalist ideology has various interpretations through this article we have tried to understand this nationalistic point of view through the lens of insurgency being an eminent threat to any country's growth and prosperity where the ultimate criteria to judge such use is by identifying the purpose behind using such groups. Although this interpretation may be subjective it must be viewed in terms of its long-term impact on society as a whole. Thus in the words of Veronica Rath, “We all have a war inside us. Sometimes it keeps us alive while sometimes it threatens to destroy us.”


[1] Guide to the Analysis of Insurgency 2012, Available Here

[2] Bangladesh Liberation War 1971, Available Here

[3] Secret weapon of India’s foreign policy, Available Here

[4] Indira Gandhi helped train Tamil rebels and reaped whirl wind, Available Here

Important Links

Divyanshi Gangwani and Ritik Kumar

Divyanshi Gangwani and Ritik Kumar

Students, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies-Technical Campus

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