File image of Pakistan PM Imran Khan and Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa | Commons
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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.


Also read: ‘Go Niazi go’ to ‘Go Nawaz go’ – Pakistan protests are like a rock concert with songs, DJs


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.

Pakistan’s war in Afghanistan, with the active support of the Americans, against the Russians has given them enough experience to become leaders in the art of executing offensive and expansionist proxy wars through well-trained and motivated jihadis. They are already inside Azerbaijan, fighting the Armenians. Media reports from Pakistan indicate that there is a concerted effort to understand and prepare the army to indulge in new warfare. The non-State groups existing in Pakistan have gained strength on the basis that they have to fight the ‘holy war’ (Jihad) in accordance with the demands of their religion.


Also read: Pakistan’s civilised ‘civil war’ as Sindh Police takes on the Army


Psychological attack

The next generation of warfare moves away from the customary objectives of territory, destruction of war-waging capability, and capturing prisoners. The overarching goal of overpowering the will of the enemy will still be the ultimate objective, but the method adopted will aim to impact the mind of the populace with the use of a number of psychological means to alter its core cultural values and beliefs. Western civilisation lays importance to life and wealth whereas a radicalised civilisation values ‘faith’ over life and the way it is lived.

This psychological attack has two forms. The first involves producing suicidal mercenaries as the new munitions of war — the strategy is to terrorise the enemy population to subjugation. Second is a more covert and subtle approach that aims to create a narrative before unleashing psychological instruments to alter the thinking and cultural values, so that they willingly offer themselves to subjugation. It involves the subjugation of the minds of the people and their leaders. The ends of warfare have shifted from a territorial concept of physical domination to the domination of minds of the population. The Arab Spring is an example of a well-orchestrated psychological campaign. The domination of the mind is by terror, coercion or through psychological bribery. The weapons and strategy of this kind of war are totally new and the country that can deploy these at the earliest will be the future power of the world. Hard weapons have been replaced by weapons of the mind and information. The narrative of the war itself will be the most lethal weapon.

Military analysts have already started writing about the sixth generation of warfare. The demonstration of this war by Pakistan can be seen by the number of minds it controls in Kashmir and how it is capturing the minds of radical Muslims in other parts of India. The de-militarisation of Siachen demonstrates the neighbour’s capacity to influence the leadership and the intellectuals of India. Pakistan is now fighting the ‘war’ in India’s hinterland and making use of the fault lines that exist within the country to de-stabilise it internally, so that in the end, India becomes incapable of responding to an invasion from within for the capture of Kashmir.

Few countries have understood the emergence of this new warfare. The US understood it after burning its fingers in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Russia has been studying this concept for the last 15 years and has demonstrated its prowess in Crimea and Chechnya, and through the purported meddling in the last US elections. The Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov had said in 2013 that “The role of non-military means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown, and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of weapons in their effectiveness”. Russia’s forethought and strategic culture of being a great power is reflected in its recent victories in the new war of information and irregularity. Russia is now the third pole in the hybrid war that the US is fighting against the radicals in the Middle East and Afghanistan. China, very strategically, has unveiled its prowess in this new type of warfare and is engaged with the US in a new Cold War where it is not the threat of nuclear weapons that is paramount, but the economy.


Also read: It took Pakistan three defeats to understand the flaw in its war strategy against India


Strategy of reflexive control and soft power

According to Timothy Thomas, “Reflexive control is defined as a means of conveying to a partner or an opponent specially prepared information to incline him to voluntarily make the predetermined decision desired by the initiator of the action”. Russians apply this concept to cause a stronger adversary to voluntarily choose the actions most advantageous to Russian objectives by decisively shaping the adversary’s perceptions of the situation. Russia’s modern information warfare adapts reflexive control to the contemporary geopolitical context so as to compel the enemy to act according to a desired plan and incline them to voluntarily make predetermined decisions. This actually means that a nation can be defeated without it even knowing of its defeat.

A large number of Indians have voluntarily given up their core values and beliefs to the temptations of the Western systems of cultural conversions. Soft power of nations that have the overwhelming capability to convince will be the major element of comprehensive national power. The new war is moving away from hard power towards soft and smart power that attacks the minds of the enemy. Pakistan, too, has structures to fight such a war — ISI, ISPR and two defence universities for research are some organisations in the country.


Also read: Pakistan Army can’t risk controversy with Nawaz Sharif, sacrificing Imran Khan easier


India and the next generation warfare

The question that we Indians have to confront is this – are we under attack? Is the next generation war at our doorstep or has it already infiltrated? Irrespective of the answer, we have to remain vigilant and continuously study the battlefield indicators. Our assessment of the situation is only as good as our knowledge of the subject.

In Pakistan, we have an adversary that has had the experience of fighting an offensive hybrid war in Afghanistan and winning it. From recent events in Kashmir, it is apparent that the intensity and tempo of the proxy war in Kashmir can be controlled by Pakistan. Pakistan has an intelligence agency, which is one of the most powerful organisations in the world. The ISI has the privilege of being created, trained and patronised by the CIA. Pakistan’s Army believes in the ‘Quranic concepts of War’, an interpretation of jihad written by Brigadier S.K. Malik, which clearly advocated the use of terror in warfighting and induced sacrifices in the name of religion (we can interpret it as Fedayeen). Putting two and two together, Pakistan has an inherent capability of fighting a covert and asymmetric war against a powerful nation. This, coupled with the power of the information war of China, our other adversary, calls for a serious review of the situation for India.


Also read: Nawaz Sharif is no political suicide bomber. His attack on Bajwas of Pakistan is deliberate


Pakistan hurting itself

The kind of war Pakistan is planning for the future is fraught with dangers. It is a double-edged sword and if not handled properly, it will cut the hand that wields it. There are already indications that some of the strategic assets that Pakistan has developed are turning against them. Pakistan is facing terrorism from the same groups that it has created. Hillary Clinton’s famous statement of “keeping snakes in your background and expecting them to only bite the neighbours” is coming true. Continued suppression of its populace by the army will induce internal violence.

Even as Pakistan struggles for its existence, its Army is preparing for a new war against India. Most analysts portray Pakistan as a failed State, a malign supporter of radical Islamic causes, and the epicentre of global terrorism. “Failed,” “flawed,” and “unraveling” are adjectives that are now widely used to describe Pakistan. Many Western States see the country as so close to failure that they believe that assistance is essential because of its weakness, and not because of its strength.

Pakistan will become more fractious, isolated and dependent on international financial assistance if it continues to be a security-seeking State and persists on challenging India for parity. The country has had many experiences with coups and insubordination in its army. There will be many in the army itself who seek the well-being of Pakistan. The only road to prosperity for Pakistan is to break their animosity against India and look inwards. This can be done if the shackles of the army are broken and the people of Pakistan resolve to develop themselves into a peaceful and prosperous State. The expenditure of seeking security is bleeding the average Pakistani but is making the army strong, which is detrimental to the people. The forces of reform have to come from within the army itself in the form of a coup or a mutiny. Or the balkanisation of Pakistan as ethnic groups seek their right to self-determination.

Pakistan happens to be the land of my forefathers — proud farmers of the Indus Valley. Although the people of Pakistan are been blessed geopolitically and demographically, they have given up their choice to be happy and prosperous by taking the route of fundamentalism and meddling with the prosperity of their neighbours. I hope democratic ideals take root again and we see a prosperous and friendly Pakistan.

Major General Amarjit Singh, VSM (Retd) commanded a Division in the Northern Sector. He writes on defence matters and is a visiting faculty at Panjab University. Views are personal.

This is the fourth and final article in a four-part series on Pakistan Army.

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29 Comments Share Your Views

29 COMMENTS

  1. Pakistan continues to exist through the skin of its teeth. It survives by increasing its “nuisance value” to the region. Its dismal economic condition forces it to perennially seek and maintain patrons to bail out its economy. Currently CPEC, crucial to the CCP’s vision of BRI, has given Pakistan leverage with China. The tail may be wagging the dog as there are some indications that the CCP may have initiated the border dispute to ease the pressure on Pakistan on its western front in order to enable terror inside Kashmir. As Pakistan can rely on weapons supply from China, its “mischief” value remains. But that is it. There is nothing it can do to wrest Kashmir from India and, frankly, the Valley’s Wahabis can shriek till the cows come home; not a thing is going to change. When Islam was ascendant lands were taken and people were converted. The tables have been turned now. The age of reason has triumphed over fanaticism. No amount of terror will change this.

  2. Just Google Pakistan. Most of the news results are on Indian websites. As a Pakistani, while I find this obsession flattering, I also think it’s unhealthy.
    I wish we can be friends one day. Unfortunately that day does not seem close. Peace out.

    • Well nothing to feel flattered about – no other country is interested in Pakistan and Pakistan doesn’t have adequate number of news outlets. Frankly, majority of Indians won’t give a hoot about Pakistan had it not been for constant nuisance factor.

  3. The gentleman ends with: “I hope democratic ideals take root again…” Military men are reputed to be a bit thick between the ears. It’s one of their charms. The core issue eeith Pakistan is Kashmir. What “democratic ideals” dictate a nine to one ratio of occupying force?

  4. Very well said.
    Problem with Pakistan is that their Generals are totally cut off from the idea of welfare of Pakistanis.
    It is, as if, a group of medieval rulers, has set upon the throne and can not care less about people and will stop at nothing to preserve their hold onto power.
    Period.

  5. The author is painting a very rosy picture of the situation, being a former Indian army general he doesn’t critically assess the role of India.
    For example, India’s treatment of its minorities in Kashmir doesn’t need an outside force to fire them up against the state of India. Nor is the role of India’s intelligence agency RAW examined, it is an open secret in intelligence circles that RAW forments unrest in Pakistan’s Balochistan province and has provided support to elements in Pakistan that promote Sunni shite violence yet the author fails to mention this and instead points the finger at Pakistan. This is laughable to say the least.
    The fact of the matter is that India does all of the above that the author accuses Pakistan of. Yet, the narrative presented to the population is that the Indian army is a defensive force, the victim of Pakistani aggression, Kashniris love the country because they are given so much freedom and that Pakistan is brainwashing them into rising up against India and that Muslims are hell bent on strapping bombs to themselves for the sake of attaining heavenly perks.

    When the so called general analyses the situation without his army hat on then the article may be considered analysis until then I would present this as another example of propaganda and if it makes INdian’s feel good then so be it but I would recommend a bit of independent and unbiassed research and understanding of the situation.

    • Whatever you are whinning for, pakistan is on it way to implode from within. Forget about jammu kashmir, by end 2020 pakistans total debt will exceed thier GDP… insolvency on its way
      hold your horses first, the baloch, sindh, gilgit and all. People are revolting from within for freedom from oppressio. Just wait few months and gilgit balkistan goes to rightful legal owners. 20Nov2020 to 30apr2021, that issue will be solved once for all…

  6. Pakistan Army is an army for hire run by Middlemen. For some time they did make money from clients like the US and Saudi. But the Chinese will not let that happen but take away everything leaving them naked.
    What is Pakistan fighting against us for? They make no money out of this war, have no capacity to rule if they capture territory, no organization other than to ill-treat the population of captured territory, but the pot must be kept boiling. The entire nation has been converted into a terror outfit with WMD capability, to be able to terrorize any part the world that will pay them. The nuisance value to India will continue so long as we have their supporters within but a direct confrontation is unlikely post Balakot even in case of a two front situation.
    The changing generation and prospering economy in India will reduce the Pakistani support base which was overlooked by successive dispensation for both corrupt and power considerations. The discontent within Pakistan from different parts will only increase because the Army middlemen come from one part only and the rest of the army is cannon fodder which may become a problem to contain within Pakistan.
    For various reasons, to start with the non-alignment and Panchasheel we did not bother to strengthen the Army and subsequently under the same garb it became a money making racket. If this was to have been compounded by repression we would have our Indian Spring, an uprising with no defined leadership or concrete program, leading to utter chaos. Armament Industry worldwide making money for years.

    • You can strengthen your army to the level of your economic conditions, if you do it beyond your limits you ruin yourself without any opposing army. Our priority should be economic development.

  7. The moment, the Pakistani army’s control comes under some Jehaadi type Generals from the present western style officers, the first casualty will be the Pakistan’s modern western type society and then we will have a medieval style force, like that of Chengis Khan on our side, ready to do anything for the sake of Islam. And we too have such elements in India to support them.

  8. Hail Pakistan, the new super power of the world. What a silly article, one more super weapon the author missed in Pak hands is ” Begging Bowl” with which they go around the world asking for alms .

  9. If what is happening in Pakistan is Pakistan generation warfare, then the situation in Afganistan, Iraq is 7th gen warfare; and situation in Syria is 8th gen. That if you do nothing but fighting constantly then you’ll become battle hardened and improve in battle generation level. No civilized country really should make such things as its objective.

  10. i fully agree with your analysis. but we indians are not able to formulate a suitable strategy to retaliate it. the hatred for one individual among the intelligentsia and the consequent paranoia is the reason behind it. we are weakening our own country by raising the bogey of a militant uprising hindhutva,

  11. This is an interesting article. But I would believe that the type of war that has been unleashed on us has got to do more with religious belief.
    However, it is necessary to devise our strategy for a multi dimensional war. Unfortunately we do not teach military strategy in our colleges, and our soldiers may gain competence through field training, which would essentially deal with combat.
    We must set up an institute for strategic studies which will not be populated by retired generals and bureaucrats, but would rather contain scholars and practitioners of psychology and military history.
    Such staff would be responsible for charting out the dynamics and philosophy of different societies and religious groups and devise strategies for conducting ” bullet less” wars through mind control of the enemy. I am sure that we must have an abundance oof such literature.
    And for God’s sake, do not keep praising Chinese techniques. They are a civilization which has seen considerable defeat and humiliation in the past.

  12. Writer (and whole India) has missed the huge elephant in the room, its the Zionist Jews controlled US that is conducting 6G warfare on India to groom it for a series of specific agendas. American Jewish Organization & US National Interest have openly advocate India & Israel axis are future of US.

    What does poor & filthy sh*thole India Trumps so openly despised has to have such great honor bestowed by powerful Jews deep states that control the world through US-USD?

    US Wall Street jew cabal Rothschild, Morgan, Goldman, Rockefeller, …are openly grooming India economy through their controlled fortune1000($150Trillions), military & international standing for last 2decades, esp after getting Modi RSS elected with Israel campaigner help. West media is shaping India culture, cultivating extreme nationalism and vehement hatred towards China & Pak heading for a disastrous war, thus to weaken China, and destroy its BRI(CPEC) that challenge Jews unipolar hegemony.

    Numerous Indians are installed as prominent CEO of many Jewish cabal controlled West Corps, as USNato gov ministers & spokesman(now even future US VP Kalama), academics chief, think tanks, in UN, etc. are all to hype up jingolistic Indians egos so India will be deluded that they are superpower to take on China.

    Has anyone ever wonder why no Germans(aveIQ 101), Chinese(107), Jap(103), SK(103), Singaporean(109) are appointed enmass to West Corps & gov, but specifically only Indians of aveIQ82, ranked BOTTOM LAST in 2009 PISA test? Are Indians truly smarter than all these nations that produced the world best enterprises & technologies?

    Btw, China & Chinese majority Spore are ranked No.1 & 2 in PISA TEST & IQ, with HK, Macau, Taiwan ranking Top10 similarly. All Chinese majority nations are so well developed are no coincidence. Yet why they don’t make a cut in West Corps?

    Why would US risk outsourced all its IT, data & call centers to India of inferior workforce speaking Indian accent Indish, with broken infrastructures, to later shifted to Asean after disastrous result of poor service & data thief? If Indians are indeed IT talent, why have we not seen a SINGLE great Apps, software, gadget, technology, unicorn, …from Indian/India?

    93% of India graduated engineers are deemed unfit for job(quote India IT CEOs, TOI), 60% Drs are quacked, the rest fake(quote India ex-Health Minister, Reuters). 40% Indians are illiterate(India definition: can’t write own name), 50% badly educated(Ranked bottom as PISA TEST proved), Top2% migrated permanently. 800Mils depends on agriculture, 200~400mils lived in slums with 740mils still defecating outdoor. So what kind of labour quality is India having for US high tech to so eagerly transfer over, even outsourcing ill fated Boeing 737Max software to two India companies(Reuters)?

    Only Tim Cook told Obama frankly, jobs arent returning because US has no skilled labour to make iPhone. He said its not about labor cost, but China has 98% literacy, producing very high quality 8xSTEMS of US and 4Mils of great IT developers. If US labour can’t compete, what’s more for India’s.

    India GDP per cap is lower than even Bangladesh now, well below Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and soon Pak & Nepal will surpass India after China BRI start. India ranked bottom in hunger index, high in crimes and corruption. Its globally ranked No.1 in violent rapes by 500 independent experts(Reuters). Its gov, courts, police, army, infrastructures, healthcare, education, …are all broken. Yet West MSM are always hyping India as greatest democracy nation to be next superpower.

    Jewish cabal Sassoon, Meyers, Rothschild, etc had Brits Raj to colonize India for opium selling, used as war sepoy to invade whole Asia including China(8 Alliance opium war),..They had never shown any kindness to Indians during colonial era, that Churchill so despised to kill as pest by Great Bengal famine. Why would these jews cabal suddenly advocate Indians as their greatest natural ally for future, rendering so much attention and resources?

    Its all about Jews replacing discontented US-EU whites awaken to their excessive exploiting usury like Romans-Russians-Germans had purged them, with more obedient(foolish) Indians, so to fight China to the last Indians for Jews perpetual hegemony.

    This is India’s greatest war awaiting, not its neighbors that Jew controlled East India Company had wilfully wedge a border disputes before granting independent, a tactic Brits colonist used in every colonies.

  13. What a silly article….the author slogged through so many concepts….all hallucinations.. War needs a decisive committed leader, take it to its logical conclusion , but rationally. That Modi will teach a Pakistan a lesson, with or without nukes is a bygone conclusion, the volume of punishment, the scale of punishment will change according to the dynamics of the war, but the punishment will be meted out, just the timing needs to be decided, it could be as early as China taking on Taiwan in 2021 or due to the arrival of the first 2 S400 batteries in 20201, Fought in first generation style, of our se in a networked smart environment with smart weapons. PAF chief acknowledgment . There will be blood spilt, but you need to break eggs to make an omelette , if Modi can’t do this, no Indian leader will do it for the next 100 years…that decisive moment since 1971 has come, and everybody is aware of it, including GHQ Rawalpindi

  14. Well, Pak is succeeding in its 6th generation war and ulterior motives because of Inida’s recent record of treatment of J&K and the Muslims in general. Until 2014, we could legitimately defend India’s posture in Kashmir. At least theoretically. Now no more.

  15. Too funny bro.
    Just replace “Pakistan ” with “India ” in this article then it will make some sense. Otherwise totally waste of time of readers.

  16. Jihad is not tactics,, it’s strategy,, Rajnikanth’s political entry is tactics- making his movie box office hit is strategy
    ” Pakistan happened to be the land of my forefathers ” – says the author
    And no Pakistani seems to consider India the land of their forefathers

  17. You can keep hoping while nothing changes for the next 100 years in South Asia. Generations will come and go and we pontificate the whole world from our arm-chairs while the whole world focusses on concrete action and implementation. Authors like these are empty cannons who have a lot to say and very little to do. Making India Strong is hands on hard work not just empty flubbing. What has “The Print” done to move the needle beyond pontification?

    • Balochistan is NOT Pakistan!
      We Baloch will fight to the death for freedom from Pakistan!
      Allah u Akbar!

  18. You are obsessed with such a small country because you can afford to… but when a bigger adversary stares you down like recently, you cower and look for escape routes to justify your misery.

  19. U give too much credit to a failed state…
    Pak has lost all its wars with india brutally….so much… for their war fighting abilities and capabilities…AFG was won against russia by the mujahadeen and US./allies and partly due to certain compulsions on the part of the USSR…
    pak was just a conduit..that nation is doomed..and bound to fail sooner than ever..it will explode..its a ticking bomb waiting to blow..
    How bharat manages to withstand the shockwaves depends on our counter strategies…we have given too much leeway and bandwidth to the paks…for them to indulge in this so called hybrid,5th 6th gen and asymetric warfare etc..and what not…
    If and when the PM signs on certain “execetive orders”…that nation will BURN…
    Small sparks r visible in baluchistan and sindh and recently in wasiristan…political movements in pak & pok and abroad ve been mobilised..we just need to fire it up
    6 years have been utilised in creating “assets”
    On ground…
    Last ex….were…
    the khalistan movement which was extinguished by narasimha rao..
    Karachi was made to burn by rajiv gandhi by using CTX teams….the point is we have to up the ante..and make the cost exponentially high…not proportianate….pak has a lot of faultlines..to b exploited..its the PM who needs to take certain calls..and its urgent..as both china and pak ve collusively upped the ante…contrary to general perceptions ..both these countries r scared of the rise of bharat now…china has upped the ante..now its our turn to do it…green shoot is
    the formation of QUAD…(again its more of a “holistic” front with broad parameters ranging from economic diplomatic ..covert intell ops..) against china..having a small military component in it but with a lot of teeth in the coming times.
    Hopefully and probaly some movement in TIBET..
    Tiawan is an idea in motion
    and if the PM is ready to take a leap of faith then…Xinjiang (with covert support from kazakhstan and russia).
    Another 2 years and pak will be left way behind in all spectrums vis a vis bharat..
    Aftr 3 years it will be a race to achieve parity with china albiet in “certain areas”…
    It all depends on our pradhan sewak ji…on what “steps” or “strides” he wants to take in this regard…as china policy was/is very close to his heart.

  20. Very good articles series. Alld four articles were interesting reads. The way writer has explained the different aspects of modern military strategies and how they all interconnected was really informative. Hope he will continue to write more such articles.

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