In the recent statement by Pakistan Army Chief, he claimed that Pakistan would win the Hybrid Warfare against India. Let us not go into the debate who can win and who cannot, but as an aspirant and even as a citizen, one must be aware of the concept of Hybrid Warfare.
Today, the warfare is not limited to border areas, but it has extended to our doorsteps, rather I would say, it has extended up to our minds and psyche. Hybrid warfare is one such concept. Let us understand what exactly it is.
Hybrid Warfare: A Definition
There are different definitions of hybrid war by different thinkers and defence experts. But after studying them one can come to the following words who collectively explain the concept of Hybrid Warfare.
The well organized and well sequenced blend of conventional warfare and irregular warfare with effective use of various technological means to achieve political, economic and strategic objectives. Basically it is the type of warfare where conventional and irregular warfare goes hand in hand in well organised manner to attain certain goals for one’s national interests.
Generally one may trace the reference of similar warfare deep in the past where many great warriors have used it. Even in ‘Arthashashtra’, Chanakya talks about collective use of conventional and irregular tools against the enemy. But drastic technological revolution, specifically in 21st century, is the factor that really empowered the concept of hybrid warfare today and the term came forward near about 2005-06.
Elements of Hybrid Warfare:
One can consider the following elements as the elements of hybrid warfare
- Regular Military Forces
- Special Forces
- Irregular Forces
- Support of Local Unrest
- Information warfare – Propaganda
- Cyber Attacks
- Economic Warfare
Along with the elements and tools of conventional warfare, hybrid warfare employs cyber tools for espionage, attack & manipulation and also the information warfare, strategic leaks, propaganda, psychological operations, false news, public information campaigns, influence various operations, funding various organizations, organised protests movements, transnationally motivated violence based on intolerance ( sectarian, ethnic and religious), operations by proxies, etc.
This warfare is inclusive in nature. It comes with lethality of conventional warfare, but also with precision and widely ranged new technological means. It wisely uses deeply penetrated cyber space domain to manipulate and nurture desired psyche of a targeted population or a certain society.
Technological Revolution: A Big Boost for Hybrid Warfare
Specifically in 21st century, technology is evolving so rapidly. It has influenced almost every aspect of human existence. Warfare and its nature is no exception to that.
Today internet, communication network and digital gadgets are like integral part of everyone’s life. The reach of digitization is so vast and deep in human society that it becomes an effective factor to get used to spread fake news, propaganda to disrupt the social peace and to bring out favorable unrest in targeted population.
The technological upgradations are bringing cost effectiveness in hybrid war. They lowered the cost to attain political objective of states and non-state actors.
Social media factor have potential to manipulate and influence public perception in less time.
The New technologies like Internet of things, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, 3D printing have potential to strengthen the role hybrid warfare and can play effective role in non-contact warfare.
Basically the role of technology, specifically in social sphere has become one of the central influential factors for this particular warfare.
Hybrid warfare has acquired wide spectra from conventional, unconventional to irregular forces. It not only blurred the boundary lines but also increased the canvas of warfare. It has added new battlefields where civilians, including you and me, are no less than soldiers in uniform.
Its up to us, how as a nation and as a society, we defend ourselves minimizing our vulnerabilities to such kinds of warfare and get benefited from them to attain our national interest to strengthen our national security.