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The New Normal of Warfare (Part- 1/2)


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Warfare is a dynamic subject. It can never be static, it witnesses vicissitudes everyday and every change in it affects the life of commons directly or indirectly. Warfare changes day by day, develops every second and gets illustrated with every innovation. Every invention, militant or non- militant eventually finds its way to the site of warriors. In the history of mankind, the most significant changes have been brought by the warfares and that too, who moved with time and sharpened up their swords have always seen the glorious face of triumph because the foundation of peace is always laid upon the carcasses. The subject of warfare is yet of the same nature- dynamic, but what are the changes that have been witnessed by the field ? Are conventional wars going to lose the keys ? Is there something, that this new age of war demands from civilians or the weight lies on the shoulders of soldiers ? What India lacks for the war ? What China has that India hasn’t ? Let’s try to find it out.

The simplest style of fighting a battle is direct conquest in which two armies come face-to-face, shed the blood motivated by different notions, and the ones who survive are winners. That’s the tactic which has been practiced by our forefathers for millions of years in respective forms. But the ways of conventional warfare and direct conquest have grown out of date now. The past 5th fraction of the present century along with the half of previous one has significantly contributed in the development of the new ways of mass annihilation giving rise to a the illustration of proxy warfare- the hybrid warfare.

If we go with what Wikipedia says then, “Hybrid warfare is a theory of military strategy, first proposed by Frank Hoffman, which employs political warfare and blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare with other influencing methods, such as fake news, diplomacy, lawfare and foreign electoral intervention.” In the contemporary world, the direct conquest is over- expensive. A country can’t afford to fight a war without a loan which ultimately results in the creak of the economy leading to an economic depression in the territory. But, hybrid warfare is a cost- effective and beneficial method of warfare though it goes against the norms of morality, privacy and democracy. Ranging from cyber- warfare to bio- war, from psy- war to fake news, social media and foreign intervention, it spares nothing. It has some common forms which destroy a country without a actual war.

Psy- war

Psychological warfare, popular by the name of psy- war, is a form of proxy warfare which is mainly intended to demoralize the military and de-stabilizing the system of the enemy state. It basically, plays with the fears and insecurities of the vulnerable groups of the enemy nation which ultimately infuses the military system. Actually psywar is nothing new. It was in practice in olden days also. It has evolved through time and technology to reach prime place it has in today’s geopolitics. It has reached a point where it is considered a very important component in modern warfare. China is a great exponent on this and has embedded it in their defence philosophy. They have the advantage of dictatorship, also they can ruthlessly curb any internal uprising. They do not believe in human rights and freedom for social media. Countries that believe in human rights are handicapped on this score. But a high index of Gross National Happiness can take care of it. But attaining that is the challenge for poor and developing countries.

India is a victim of this kind of war. The Indian political state has always been callous to the defence sector. The psy- war had been lodged against India in the late 1980’s itself initiated on the land of Kashmir. The impudent genocide of Kashmiri Hindus at 19th January 1990 was the biggest inference of psy- war a contemporary country can suffer and the evasion of the Indian state- Legislative, executive and Judiciary was the solidarity to this war. The communal attacks at Kashmir, the infusion of drugs in Punjab since decades, the agitations of Shaheen baag are the recent examples.

The modern mode of the same are social media sites. The recent encounter of Indian government with Twitter is discernible. When the Twitter account of the former Law minister Shri Ravishankar Prasad was barred, it was a challenge by the twiter to the sovereignty of India which also banished the trust of citizens over the government. This is what the ultimate aim of a psy- war is: to ravage the enemy state without fighting at field.

Psy- war is all about de- stabilization of the state to affect its internal machinery. In India the exponents are Kashmir and the North- eastern states. These catalysts were used by Pakistan and China to make India attention over the fringe elements rather than developing itself in which they succeeded.

Cyber War

Cyber warfare has rules that are completely different from physical wars. While in physical war the only rule is “Attack is the best defence”, the cyber world completely refutes this principle. In the cyber world both defence and offence have to be given equal importance and defence structure has to be more powerful than that of attack. It’s due to the fact that the targeted side can respond with stronger and precise counter attack and if the country does not have the powerful defence structure then for sure its infrastructure is going to get damaged.

Cyber warfare is the new kind of Warfare developed by China in early 90’s itself. When India was struggling with the Kashmir issue and later grappling with the Kashmiri genocide, China was developing geo- politically and strategically. China started paying attention to the American style of war in the late 80’s when it was called Information Warfare. Attracted by the benefits that the US got due to information warfare, China got greedy towards the dominance in the contemporary world rearing the ambition of being the next superpower of the planet.In 2015, China had its Kairos moment with the advent of People’s Liberation Army and Strategic Support Forces. The Strategic Support Forces of China is responsible for providing umbrella information for operations on land, water and air whereas PLA is the name of China’s army. These two forces combinely form the ‘New Combat Force’ of China. This force is responsible for providing leverage space, electromagnetic & network capabilities for threatening key nodes of the enemy’s combat system. There is a separate cyber unit in the PLA. The cyber unit of PLA is known as ‘Second Bureau of the Third Department Unit 61398. It’s main headquarters are located in Shanghai. It mainly employs IT specialists (for designing new and enhancing existing cyber infrastructure), Electric engineers, mathematicians and linguistics (for understanding the text which they obtain after hacking the systems), so there is a scope for the above professionals in China, if any traitor interested neighbour is waiting for you. The main work of this unit is to implement decisions by Chinese Communist Party in cyberspace- the location and country to be attacked.

According to the reports of Fire Inc. (cyber security company), India is the 5th most targeted country by China as a consequence of the cyber attacks of 2007 and recently, cyber attacks in Mumbai and Chennai. We rank 12th in norms, 15th in intelligence, 19th in commercial parameters, 24th in defence, 26th in surveillance and 29th in control in cyberspace, which is not good for a country like ours which dreams of being a superpower of the world.If put an eye over the last fraction of the last century, the fact which gets aroused is that till 80’s, India and China had common GDP and in early 90’s world saw India as a rising IT hub as trade policies were liberalised and the West started investing in India and IT was and is a thriving industry. In the meantime, China was preparing the infrastructure for cyber warfare. In 2011, China occupied the position in the top 10 in the Cyber Power Index. It’s due to the untold fact that since the last decade of last century, China has been heavily investing in cyberspace as a result it has established its dominance in the field due to which the gap in capability of India and China has significantly widened. If we see GDP, while India only spends 0.65 % of its GDP in cyberspace, other countries spend 1.5 to 3 % in this field. We don’t have an indomitable cyber infrastructure like China though activities have started taking place in this field too since the last 7 years. Top 10 cyber powers include the US, China, Russia, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Canada, Japan and Australia.

What can be done :-

  • Defence and civilian infrastructure should be separated so that an attack on civilian infrastructure may not affect the defence sector.
  • Establishment of Central cyber command can be useful in order to detect the cyber attacks and answer them with force by strengthening the cyberspace infrastructure in India.
  • Lay down military and civilian targets.
  • Prepare for offence on Chinese economy by not purchasing Chinese products and promoting the Indian indigenous products so that China’s capacity to launch cyber attacks may decline significantly.

The world is now heading towards a war on the mobile. The contemporary world is going to find the third world war not on the battlefield but in the minds of the citizens of the enemy state, so what is required is that the Indian government along with the citizen take the initiative of opening up at the the 0.5 front that the late CDS general Bipin Rawat pointed out. The evolution of Indian state it has caused the nation to much already. The hybrid warfare is intended to destabilize estate of which the Kashmir and the North Eastern states of India are the greatest exponent a contemporary country can bear. Similarly if India had created hundred Kashmirs in Pakistan before the creation of a single Kashmir in itself, we could have prevented the loss of many lives and if we had supported the revolts of Tibet, Hong Kong under the cover before it flared up the disputes on Eastern and Northern borders of India, the Doklam dispute and the Galwan encounter may had not taken place. It is high time that the Indian state gets aware of its duties and the perpetuated evasion to elapse such disputes and the cyber attacks get thrown to the oblivion and an India potent of contesting Hybrid war penetrate of all such adversities.



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