India's hybrid warfare against Pakistan
ISLAMABAD - The technological development and the instant communication possibilities advanced not only economic and social developments, but also evolving threats from those who exploit the vulnerabilities of communication and information systems. In the ever-evolving geopolitical environments and pre-eminence of trends like economy, media, civil society and, globalization, the scope of waging a sole conventional war is neither feasible nor cost effective.
This notion has given rise to the concept of Hybrid Warfare with the accruing benefits of ambiguity, surprise and above all, cost efficiency. In essence, Hybrid warfare is described as a shift away from a traditional force model, to an approach which combines military and non-military tools in a deliberate and synchronized campaign to destabilize and gain political leverage over an opponent. Hybrid warfare widely understood as a blend of conventional, unconventional, regular, irregular, information and cyber warfare.
After the nuclearization of Pakistan, there has been a growing thinking in the Indian military that a conventional war could be both untenable and cost prohibitive. This notion gave rise to hybrid war under the rubric of nuclear weapons as the preferred strategy by India. There is growing evidence of hybrid warfare in the Indian strategy of pressuring Pakistan through media, subversion, cyber warfare and diplomatic maneuvers aimed at its isolation. The stipulated objective is weakening of Pakistan to the extent that it accepts Indian hegemony in the region and abandons its principled stance on Kashmir and other key national policy issues.
The hybrid war that has been waged is not merely Pakistan-specific but is embedded in the regional geo-political gimmickries. Simultaneously, India with the support of some other world players is fueling secessionist movements in Balochistan and has created a ‘second front’ with Afghanistan through its political, economic clout and support for Tehreek-e-Taliban in carrying out terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.
India has grown proficient at using hybrid-warfare capabilities and tactics to pursue its objectives in South Asian region since the end of Cold War. New Delhi typically operates below the threshold of conventional warfare, using a blend of military and paramilitary tools, including proxy forces, militants, separatists, cyber tools, and information operations to shape and coerce neighboring states to its advantage. Consequently, India succeeded against its small neighbors.
Nevertheless, Islamabad has been resisting New Delhi’s endeavors to establish its hegemony in the region. India has been frequently violating the Line of Control. No ethics within the military domain allow firing on the civilians’ working or moving near the border during the peacetime. The Indian forces intentionally target the civilians to cause a fear in the region. They justify their firing by claiming that they are preventing infiltration of the militants. They intelligently misguide the international media by sharing with them erroneous facts.
Premier Narendra Modi has openly expressed his earnest desire to isolate Pakistan. His Hindu fundamentalist associates in the cabinet have been hatching conspiracies to bleed Pakistan. Nevertheless, the people of Pakistan and their friends courageously defy the evil designs of the Indian ruling elite. India as a policy imperative, keeping in view post-nuclear Pakistan and the recent reality of CPEC, has waged a hybrid war against Pakistan, supported by a superpower and other regional players. This calls for national cohesion, effective governance to alleviate genuine demands of the population, authentic intelligence setups and a coordination mechanism at a national level to harness all elements of national power.
The transformative nature of warfare necessitates revamping in its national security strategy. Thus, the situation warrants that Government ought to chalk out a grand strategy or a compressive strategy involving the entire nation to combat the current and potential threats of Hybrid warfare. Hence, developing an institutional mechanism to keep on calibrating and generating response as per changing situations and challenges as a pre-requisite to counter the hybrid war being faced by Pakistan.
The writer is a Assistant Research Officer (ARO) at Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI).
There is growing evidence of hybrid warfare in the Indian strategy of pressuring Pakistan through media, subversion, cyber warfare and diplomatic maneuvers aimed at its isolation.
By: Sajjad Haider