Is India ready for a fifth generation warfare?

A lot has been said and written about fake news these days, while this remains a battle –-   no one is discussing the Information driven fifth generation warfare of which fake news is just a frontier.

The information warfare can very easily be described as a dynamic battle of hearts and mind which takes a state by surprise. More often than not the state reacts with a rigid framework with complete lack of empathy that starts a self-fulfilling cycle of violence and utter destruction of state apparatus.

We have had a taste of this warfare during last secessionist cycle in Kashmir. When the local  administration asked ‘armed to teeth’ army men to handle a civil disobedience, without a standard operating mechanish, the commander of the column, Maj Gogoi, used a human shield to avoid casualties on all sides.


The actions of Indian Army were that of a force that was not ready to handle the soft revolution which has seen many regimes of middle east and eastern Europe collapse. The answer was never to be with the army in the first place.

The answer to this kind of warfare , like any other defensive military situation required three steps, one – contain the problem, two encircle it and defeat it and three – if resources permit – go on offensive.

India has been able to do the first two parts pretty well.

Containment of the new age Kashmiri separatists


While it may sound odd but the coverage of non-government friendly media of human rights violations and ‘justified’demands of valley has played a great part in the containment of the situation. The media provided enough outlet of steam while it went through its news cycle and completely buried the story at the end of it

The self fulfilling cycle of hatred – self immolation and lone wolf attacks has been avoided.

However the worrying part is that while agencies seem to have understood the situation and used their assets wisely, the same could not be said about deeper understanding of what people wanted. To be honest we have not been able to puncture the movement like the occupy wall street movement, neither have we developed any strategy of early detection and avoidance of such future occurrences.

Encirclement and defeat of the movement

The phase is still on with Indian security agencies identifying and arresting the money trail that funded this campaign in the first place. Thankfully the movement has had lack of motivated individuals and needed the money. While the present wave will be defeated, it cannot be the standard operating procedure for future. For sure the next attempt at funding something like this will be a lot more sophisticated with hard to track proxies and peers in neighboring states and in the metros. I am pretty sure some savvy chartered accountants will be hired up to cover the trail. so there needs to be an offensive – right about now

Going on Offensive – discredit the movement and anyone associated with it

Arresting separatists on money laundering charges hardly takes away the support of their constituencies. They need to be linked to heinous and unforgiving crimes. Prosecution is not required as long as the public could be led to believe.

The offensive need not be limited to just the separatists themselves but to everything remotely political. In such a warfare best political victory can be achieved by destroying politics itself. Simultaneously a development cycle (Akin to South Korea after armistice) can start the apolitical populance to start thinking about the best they could achieve individually than as a collective political psyche .

As Indian we have been lucky this time, but if next time an Army officer uses a human shield and that shield dies for whatever reason, hell will have lesser fury than what our great nation will face. Hence the fifth generation warfare needs to go on offensive and should be fought on the grounds of our choosing. As soon as Possible





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