5th generation warfare: Pakistan under attack from US and India over China's alliance
ISLAMABAD - Attack in Quetta, on Gwadar Coastal Highway, now series of attacks in Sri lanka , now Lahore have all same foot prints. Pakistan is being punished as IK government not towing lines of power brokers in US, West and India for its own strategic objectives.
Sri Lanka, again being told that you behave or worst will follow. In the equation you will find China.
CPEC must be obstructed to expand its influence, and save Indian assets which are in disarray. Same is in Sri Lanka to stop Chinese influence. Let there be no doubt Pakistan has to face not only full wrath of 5th generation war, economic strangulation but sabotage, proxy attacks, and increased tension on the LoC and also on western borders.
Political polarisation within the country is fully exploited by outside powers and give fuel to their propaganda against Pakistan. In this milieu have always maintained new battleground is Indian Ocean in particular and Arabian Sea at large. So will be threat to Pakistan coast on one side beside internal threats.
CPEC was opposed from day one by India and USA.
First, veiled pressure was exerted but later open threats followed. Gawadar and Ormara , one commercial and other operational port are viewed threat to Indian ambitions to control Indian ocean.
Oman has already given access to USA and Chahbahar with Indian help , Qatar is already US base , Diego Garcia and dozen of drone launching airfields stretching all along from Sudan up to heart of South Africa and moving deep in the heart of African continent adequately cover the theatre . CPEC is fast developing, so are ports of Gwadar and Ormara , in the western coast .
Sri Lanka coastal development with Chinese help and management of strategic port at the confluence of sea roots has upset the Indian designs of controlling Indian ocean. For that India from last two decades have been building it Naval Assets for the strategically offensive role.
Acquisition of second aircraft carrier and enhancement of submarine fleet to counter Pakistan edge. Indians ambitions to have strong blue water navy are shared by USA and supported by Israel that consider Pakistan and China as emerging threat
Let there be no doubt, problems for Pakistan are going to increase after Indian election. Any body who may form new government in India, India’s strategic interests which are aligned with USA will not allow any headway in peace talks. Similarly Pakistan coastal defence is going to be a critical factor for CPEC and economic growth.
Pakistan to have Gawadar highway safe to ensure conducive industrial and trading activities. Pakistan India quantum of naval assets is virtually one to three. Indian Naval strength is around 79000 and over 700 naval assets of different type.
The main stay is two, second being procured, Aircraft Carriers and large fleet of submarines out of which some are, Russian made, are due for retirement. Whereas Pakistan is around 22000 with naval assets slightly over 200. Thus relative strength wise we are small and Indian Navy is fifth largest navy in the world.
It is important to remember India’s coastline virtually is divided in East and West coast. In the East the threat is minimal except control sea-lanes from straits of Malacca to Sri Lanka curvature. Thus India is in a position to divert its assets in the west against Pakistan.
Our main stay is deterrence through fast moving submarines and surveillance capabilities. But that is not enough. We must move from defence to offensive defence. Mere deterrence is not enough. The threat on the coast right from Keti Bunder to all the way to Gawader is multi dimensional.
Not only protection of sea-lanes but also coast against sea borne, air and even from ground attacks through landing craft with a view not only threaten coast but cut off Karachi from mainland. Thus a gigantic task for Pakistan defence planners. Both Keti Bunder and across Sir Creek are vulnerable area from any threat. Coupled with employment of Aircraft from carriers as force multiplier.
Question is to prepare civilian population of Karachi to be ready for hard time in time of hostilities. Indian nuclear submarine and attack capability has added new dimension to threat.
Though Pakistan has now capability to thwart such threat from sea based vessels, it is important to have nuclear powered submarines who can pry in deep sea the enemy and wait for days. So is the requirement of Air Craft Carrier.
As Pakistan and China interests in CPEC are common, we must seek not only China but also Russia’s support to build naval capability. It is important we do not stress our relationship with China with new IMF dispensation. So is the space we gained with Russia must not be allowed to shrink.
BY: Tariq Khalil—The writer, a retired Brigadier, is decorated veteran of 65 & 71 wars and a defence analyst based in Lahore.