PM Modi’s address to armed forces sharpens focus on potential hybrid wars

China has been steadily improving the connectivity of its forward posts with the Central Command and India still lagging behind in this aspect.

The recent visit to Nowshera by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Diwali Eve was special since it came in the backdrop of China’s increasing activities along the Line of Control.

The Indian Prime Minister was addressing the Jawans of the 80th Brigade Headquarters and asked the Jawans to be ready for the new and hybrid form of warfare. Hybrid warand warfare goes beyond Army, Navy and Air Force and it is cyber and information warfare.

Outcome of future wars to depend on quick information dissemination

The totalitarian regime of China enables it to snoop on not only its population but also spread disinformation in other nations. The defeat or victory of future wars will depend largely on how quickly decisions are made and to achieve this, forward posts must be well connected with the Central Command, so that decisions are made in the shortest possible time.

China has been steadily improving the connectivity of its forward posts with the Central Command and India still lagging behind in this aspect.

Galwan standoff triggered proactive measures in India

Historically, India has always adopted an ostrich-like attitude in its relationship with China. India, barring a few occasions, has never overtly stated that China is an adversary. It was George Fernandez, the Defence Minister in the Atal Bihari government who first stated overtly that China is the number one enemy of India. 

Even the present Prime Minister Narendra Modi had adopted a conciliatory approach towards China despite several provocations. It was only after Galwan incident that India finally started to take proactive measures against Chinese provocations.

Disinformation has always been used as a tool by totalitarian and dictatorship governments around the world. India with its democratic form of governance makes it impossible to have the kind of surveillance which China has and employs on its own population.

The West came to realize this late when it halted Huawei from operating its 5G networks, fearing that the equipment supplied by China could be used for snooping.

Firewalling sensitive installations is the first step

Psychological and asymmetric warfare will decide the result of any war and India must get ready to take up this challenge. Firewalling sensitive installations, especially military communication, is the first step.

According to a Chinese report on “Lectures on Joint Campaign Information Operations”, the PLA seeks to employ extensive non-kinetic warfare operations in any future conflict against the United States. The report revealed that the time taken to discover an enemy attack and the response should be as small as possible.

The 1962 debacle was caused by the lack of knowledge about the impending Chinese assault.

The Chinese incursion into Doklam, Uttarakhand and Galwan or the Kargil incursion by Pakistan was discovered only after the enemy forces were well entrenched and to evict them, India had to pay a very huge price both in terms of manpower and resources.

Future battles will be fought differently and the side which has better information about the enemy actions will be the victor.

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