Defence

Pakistan fighting war in India’s hinterland without weapons. That’s sixth-generation warfare

By The Print

The Pakistan Army has been at war since its birth. It has been involved in warfare with India, Russia, Afghanistan and is, reportedly, now meddling in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict. Pakistan, with its experience in warfare, has evolved its concepts and philosophy of war.

The evolution of warfare is generally studied from the perspective of changes in weapons systems, technology, and strategy employed. The first generation warfare saw a duel, involving physical endurance and numbers; the second generation witnessed the amassing of firepower; in the third generation, manoeuvre was the dominant strategy.

In the fourth generation, lines were blurred between war and politics, soldier and civilian, peace and conflict, and boundaries vanished — the goal was to challenge a superior force through long-term covert and proxy operations, which has exemplified the conflict between cultural and religious ideologies, haves and have-nots, capitalists and socialists, and the emergence of non-State actors.

The belief that economic power was imperative to sustain a long war has been disproved by Pakistan — small groups and small nations have been holding large, economically strong nations to ransom through the use of unconventional warfare and terrorism. Pakistan is now studying fifth and sixth generation warfare.

Fourth-generation warfare is Pakistan’s forte

Pakistan has, from the very start, understood the fourth-generation warfare. It studied the art of asymmetric warfare well. The mobilisation of raiders from the local population, under a deniable military leadership to invade a disputed territory, was typically fourth-generation warfare. Phase I of the 1965 war (Operation Gibraltar) was the second such example. Kargil was the third occasion when it deployed the fourth-generation strategy.

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