India’s ‘Hybrid Warfare’

Pakistan must directly and/or indirectly attack those cells supporting RAW’s hybrid warfare within Pakistan creating internal problems for the South Asian country, argues one analyst after Indian Defense Minister’s public endorsement of using terrorism as a policy tool.

Posted on 05/28/15
By Ikram Sehgal | Via ViewsWeek
Huge flames behind parked planes during an attack on Karachi airport on June 8, 2014. Pakistan has long suspected India's involvement in many daring attacks in recent years. Indian Defense Minister's daring statement has reinforced these suspicions. (Photo via video stream)
Huge flames behind parked planes during an attack on Karachi airport on June 8, 2014. Pakistan has long suspected India’s involvement in many daring attacks in recent years. Indian Defense Minister’s daring statement has reinforced these suspicions. (Photo via video stream)

Using the Hindi phrase ‘kante se kanta nikalna’ (removing a thorn with a thorn), Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar recently inadvertently blurted out what has been a hometruth for nearly five decades, India’s penchant for employing/outsourcing of terrorists to catch/kill terrorists, “We should do it. Why does my soldier have to do it?” India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Duval attempted damage control by playing down Parrikar’s comment as quote “it could mean having skills, equipment, tactics, it can have many meanings,” unquote. The present architect of India’s “hybrid warfare” “seeking to inflict pain” (in his own words) on Pakistan, Ajit Duval well knows that Parrikar’s statement was a true reflection of how India perpetuates hegemony (or tries to) on the States on its periphery. Trying to tone down the controversy, Parrikar said he was “only in favor of targeted strikes based on intelligence and not covert operations undertaken by civilians or militia”, his U-turn was an afterthought. RAW (and other Indian intelligence agencies) have been targeting Pakistan since the 1965 Indo-Pak War.


Subverting our ideology, culture and economy within and outside Pakistan by using proxies or outsourcing the task, isolating us in sports force-multiplies the mass civic frustration according to a well-crafted Indian gameplan. Gone are the days of fighting wars in the conventional manner; today’s  strategy is a combination of conventional warfare, irregular tactics and terrorist acts, including subverting the media by using the advertising power of financial institutions of the State itself other than violence, coercion and cyber warfare. Employing both modern technology and modern mobilization methods, States use a variety of non-state actors, or a combination thereof. Wikipedia describes this new military strategy as “envisaging attacks by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, improvised explosive devices and information warfare.” Taken together these acts are called “Hybrid Warfare”. Combining kinetic operations with subversive effort, the aggressor intends to avoid attribution or retribution, this India has successfully managed in world perception. Pakistan’s breakup in 1971 was the successful execution of this type of warfare by India.  Among the initiatives, remember the “Ganga” incident of Jan 30, 1971 when we fell for an India staged hijacking of an Indian Airlines Fokker-27 to Lahore, then used its blowing up as a pretext to stop all overflights between East and West Pakistan just when the developing political crisis badly needed physical (and psychological) communications for a direct route to remain and signify unity. Taken out of service by Indian Airlines, the Fokker named “Ganga” was brought into operation for this flight.


The ‘media reality’ dominates influence over conventional reality by creating perception, especially in political life. The critical weapons used in Hybrid Warfare include “Media and Information Warfare”, attacking both Information Technology (IT) systems on which a military opponent may depend upon, controlling and manipulation of the information available to the civilian populace on both electronic and print media. This includes Command and Control, Intelligence-based Electronic and Psychological warfare, etc, etc.  The enemy has been using both its media and our own to influence persons (bribe, compromise, coax or threaten) to achieve its designs. A number of media celebrities are, wittingly or otherwise, furthering the cause of India.  Notwithstanding adjudicating accountability thereof on what prima facie seems to be an outright fraud, why is the “Axact” saga being so systematically projected, and for whose benefit?  Peddling fake degrees is a fairly rampant business in the West! The domestic furore notwithstanding and the “usual suspects” acting holier-than-thou, barring “paid” exceptions why has not a single print and/or electronic media in the West picked up on the sensational “International New York Times” (NYT) article?


To quote my article “Hybrid Warfare” of Feb 04, 2015, “Smart Power being a judicious mix of Hard and Soft Power, India is force-multiplying “smart power” in conducting against us. With Modi’s Cardinal Richelieu NSA Ajit Doval (very much a “state actor”) in the driving seat, “false-flag terrorism” has gone into overdrive and “Cold Start” has now assumed a different dimension in making things hot for Pakistan. We Pakistanis live in self-denial about being subjected to siege under this new warfare, RAW has with impunity masterminded the spreading of misinformation by using its proxies, why do some in our media mirror the Indian media’s animosity towards our Armed Forces and the ISI?  One financial institution gave almost Rs.1 billion in several advertisement orders to a confirmed RAW asset, the money was used to target the Army and the ISI. Our intelligence agencies failed to move on this, either because the agent provocateur being well-connected brought pressure on them or they were simply apathetic. A very professional and competent regional head of one of the primary civilian intelligence agencies requested me to drop the matter.


Outsourcing of terrorists for deadly purpose is quite common. In May 2011 the Pakistan Naval Station Mehran was attacked by heavily armed gunmen targeting the P-3C Orion aircraft hangars and military personnel destroyed two aircraft while another was damaged. Has anyone ever really questioned why the terrorists walked past dozens of modern (and expensive) warplanes on the tarmac to focus on the P3C-Orions almost 1000 meters away? What earthly motive would the terrorists have destroying Pakistan’s naval eyes and ears capacity? Who other than India was the sole beneficiary in making our Navy temporarily blind and deaf?


The Chief of Afghan NDSI Nabil, incidentally educated in Pakistan as a refugee during the Soviet occupation, candidly justified in a NYT interview using TTP against Pakistan in line with Chanakhya’s tenet, “an enemy of an enemy is a friend”. Training and administering NDSI personnel, RAW has been running almost all their operations till lately. TTP Chief Hakimullah Afridi’s No 2 Latifullah Afridi accompanied by NDSI agents was captured by US Special Forces on his way to Kabul to meet Karzai. Karzai tried desperately to get the US to release him. To President Ashraf Ghani’s credit Latifullah Afridi has now been handed over by the US to Pakistan with his consent. NDSI’s activities against Pakistan may not have ceased entirely but are certainly restricted after Ashraf Ghani became President. Consider the arrest of five NDSI operatives by the Afghans themselves on information provided by the ISI about their involvement in the Peshawar APS atrocity.


We must directly and/or indirectly attack those cells supporting RAW’s hybrid warfare within Pakistan creating internal problems for us, “charity” begins at home.  Those acting as proxies for RAW are as guilty as the terrorists killing and maiming innocents, they should be exterminated without mercy whatever their stature. Do we have the conviction and courage to physically counter the enemy’s evil intentions?


The writer is a leading defense and political analyst of Pakistan. He can be contacted at

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