Military Operations in Urban Areas: The Indian Experience

by C. Christine Fair


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Despite India's considerable experience with conducting military operations on urbanized terrains (MOUT), there is little evidence that India is adopting a formal MOUT doctrine. Even though India does not have a conventional MOUT doctrine per se, there are valuable lessons that can be learned from India's extensive experience in urban operations, particularly in the contexts of low intensity conflict, counter-insurgency, and peacekeeping operations. This article analyzes the dimensions of urban conflict as expounded within the Indian defense literature, examining efforts to determine the unique demands the urban environment exerts on its forces. This research finds that within the Indian force structure, Indian institutions have generally been unable to absorb and disseminate the various lessons learned from these operations. In particular, there are few if any joint mechanisms to ensure that India's entire security apparatus can draw from accumulated operational knowledge.

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Originally published in: India Review, v. 2, no. 1, January 2003, pp. 49-76.

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