Indian Hybrid warfare against Pakistan

Change is a permanent feature of world politics. Similarly, warfare also transformed with the advancement in technology and socio-political dynamics. According to Clausewitz, “Every age has its type of war and it adapts itself to the prevailing environment”. Though the revolution in military affairs has made a total war or full-scale conventional war less relevant between states as an instrument to settle down disputes, however, the military remains a useful tool in modern times to deter the enemy. The birth of nuclear weapons has tilted the cost of conventional war. The evolution of Hybrid warfare compelled nations to achieve their objectives while remaining under the nuclear threshold Indian by using non-traditional means trying to achieve its objective. This concept entered the strategic lexicon in 21 century including both Kinetic and non-kinetic means to jeopardize the enemy’s ability to fight.

“Hybrid is defined as an externally evoked war, and is fueled by external actors to exploit socio-economic, geographic, ethnic, cultural, and religious fault lines”. It is war without any direct violence.
It is a well-known fact that the concept of Hybrid existed in history, Suntzu said; “To fight and conquer is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s will without fighting”. Another military strategist Kutaliya Arthashastra Ancient treaties, his postulates are still relevant to the Hybrid warfare; diplomacy, information warfare, subversion, sabotage, covert operations. Arthashastra suggested the techniques of concealed warfare, in which the use of irregular forces, ambushes, treachery in the enemy’s camp is a prominent factor, another, was silent warfare which includes the use of allies, vassals, tribal chiefs and, suborned friends of the enemy. Therefore, the purpose of Hybrid is not to achieve immediate victory but to hit the soft target of the adversary, isolate it, demoralize it before the actual war.

India waged Hybrid warfare in Pakistan is based on Ajit Doval’s Doctrine. This indicates engaging the enemy on three fronts; defensive, defensive-offensive, and offensive. In which defensive-offensive means going into Pakistan and intercepting the problem where it originates. Ajit Doval once said: You can do one Mumbai, you may lose Baluchistan.” This indicates that Indian intelligence agencies are involved in destabilizing Pakistan. Indian Hybrid warfare has 3D objectives Destabilize, Demoralized, and Disintegrate. Vikrant Deshpande wrote in his book (Hybrid warfare: changing character of warfare) that after the overt nuclearization in 1998, India failed to pressurize Pakistan conventionally, and change strategy towards Hybrid tactics. India is constantly provoking territorial conflicts between provinces, hitting the identity indicators, and ideological transformations in Pakistan. Hybrid warfare against Pakistan includes targeting vulnerabilities including political, economic, cultural, religious, and diplomatic. Furthermore, there are several fronts Indian is waging Hybrid warfare against Pakistan containing proxy wars in which, India is using irregular-forces as an instrument because India cannot afford the risk of all-out war, India is fueling several proxy forces which are playing a decisive role inside and affecting the overall security matrix of the country. Since its inception in 1947, Indian is continuously triggering the fault lines of Pakistan. Indian is trying to propagate false narrative that partition of subcontinent was a big mistake by creating this inferiority complex among Muslims and trying to promote the fascists ideology of Hindutva.

Besides this, there are numerous pressure groups that are exerting pressure to achieve their objectives by blackmailing, sabotage, promoting insurgency, are being actively supported by Indians. These groups include BLA and BRA which also responsible for the attack on the Chinese Consulate and the hijacking of PIA Flight 544 in 1998 and many more terrorist activities in Pakistan. Rest included separatist which contain hostile groups that undermine the territorial integrity, in the past, Indian support of Mukti Bahini is Hybrid tactic. Consequently, PTM and is also working on the agenda of Hybrid fueled by neighbors, that aims to undermine social instability and to harm the international image. Another important factor is information warfare, which changes after the emergence of the World Wide Web, dark net, social media, and complicates the battleground of 21 century because we are living in the era where data has been weaponized and become more dangerous than a bullet; media of such state is used to spread hopelessness, uncertainty. Recently European news agencies revealed how India influences public perception of Pakistan. For this purpose, India is using 256 fake websites to propagate malicious propaganda against Pakistan. In September 2017, an analyst Agha Iqrar said that “India had spent 7 billion to run an anti-Pakistani campaign in Geneva”. Likewise, Asia bibi episode the interior minister claimed that “India tried to exploit religious crisis and protest in the country because the religion of the enemy is always a soft target”. Sheryar Afridi said that “Around 160 tweets per minute were generated from India to incite the agitation”.

Thirdly, political warfare is one more type of Hybrid warfare which purpose is to weaken the political unit of the country. The main features included lobbying, containment, and global isolation. In this case, Indian lobbying in Washington is believed to have been a contributing factor for the denial of “6x Oliver Hazard prey frigates” which are due to release for the Pakistan Navy. Indian lobbying was used to undermine Pakistan’s self-defense capabilities which have a devastating effect on Pakistan’s national security. To globally isolate the state, strong lobbying is required to exploit the weak diplomacy of the country to degrade and denounce the state’s positive efforts. Also, India is working on the policy of containment to prevent Pakistan from global trade, relations, technological developments, and military cooperation. Comparably, arms embargo in 1990 was imposed under the “Pressler Amendment” which gave India an advantage over Pakistan, due to which India has greater say in geopolitics.

Lastly, India uses its influence on international financial organizations to create conditions for the provision of the maximum amount of loans to further weaken the economy of Pakistan. Economic warfare is used against the country to stagnant and weakens the country’s economy the chief purpose of India is to weaken the economy to the point where Pakistan can’t be a superpower or regional power. Moreover, pressing Pakistan over the issue of FATF is propaganda to malign in image of Pakistan on international forums. Indian best effort to blacklist Pakistan from (FATF) and to declare Pakistan as a terrorist state is yet, another form of Hybrid warfare.

To conclude, Indian main objective is to make Pakistan economically and politically unstable through use of hybrid tactics and propaganda which hurts the national security of country. To counter hybrid threat Pakistan needed credible strategy to counter Indian Hybrid propaganda. According to Yuhal noha hariri in his book “World deluged in irrelevant information, clarity of mind is power.” Keeping in view this, Pakistan needed to formulate strong counter narrative to make its position clear on domestic as well as on international forums, but unfortunately Pakistan always act in apologetic manner, which strengthens the Indian propaganda.

Our leadership must address this grey area and our political parties must be, assigned to educate, Pakistanis must have a world view and can act as good ambassadors of the country. Social media campaign should be launched to present a soft image of Pakistan, and it should be defended through democratic institutions and inclusive patriotism, also educate and aware citizens about hybrid warfare, then there are fewer chances of success of Indian agendas. Because Hybrid warfare is real and we have to fight with this challenge.


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