Escalation doesn’t always lead to war: Army chief on Balakot strikes
New Delhi, mar 4:
Apart from strengthening its conventional prowess, India is focusing on a
dynamic response along its western and northern borders that is below the
threshold of an all-out war, Army chief Gen M M Naravane said on Wednesday.
border is aligned with China and the western border with Pakistan.
seminar on land warfare here, the Army chief said the airstrikes on Balakot
demonstrated that if one was skilful, escalation does not always lead to war.
Moreover, he noted that the Indian Army was looking to tap blockchain
technologies, lasers and directed energy weapons for possible military use.
“On our part,
that of the Indian Army, we have analysed carefully the changing character of
war within the overall framework of conflict, as relevant to the Indian
context,” Gen Naravane said, adding, “The ‘grey zone’ and its varied nuances
are receiving our concerted attention.”
strengthening our conventional prowess, we are also focusing on dynamic
response— actions below the threshold of an all-out war— and are refining our
plans and capacities in this regard both, along the western and northern
borders,” the Army chief said.
He also said
kinetic and non-kinetic responses were being developed to address the threat.
The Army chief
pointed out that Chinese dominance in the South China Sea showed small
incremental steps— none of them serious enough to warrant any action or
reaction— cumulatively achieved the aim without firing a single shot or
inviting retaliatory action.
The Chinese way
of war, epitomised by thinkers such as Sun Tzu, has given a new lease and life
to the concept of “non-contact or grey zone warfare”, where one shed the binary
approach to conflict, Naravane said.
He also asserted
that the rise of non-state actors such as terrorists demands that victory in
war is formulated in a nuanced manner.
“The rise of
non-state actors, such as insurgents, terrorists, transnational criminal
networks combined with greater focus on individual’s status consequently
demands that victory needs to be formulated and achieved in a more nuanced way,”
the Army chief noted.
Victory no longer
rests on the ability to inflict massive destruction but on the ability to
wrestle popular support from one’s opponent, he said.
Terming it a
“technological irony, Gen Naravane said the ISIS was far more adept in using
social media for devastating effects as compared to the 21st century armies of
the US and the UK.
Talking about a
new phenomenon of showing military prowess below the threshold of an all-out
conflict, he said, “The Houthi rebels attack on Riyadh airport and oil
facilities in Saudi Arabia and closer home, the Balakot airstrike saw these
short, intense and escalatory cycles of military activity in full media glare,
where sophisticated information narratives played an equally important role.”
Indians were told that if and when the International Border (IB) between India
and Pakistan is crossed it would escalate to a full-fledged war, the Army chief
demonstrated that if you play the escalatory game with skill, military ascendancy
can be established in short cycles of conflict that do not necessarily lead to
war,” he said.
“We have possibly entered the era of ‘contested equality’, wherein technology
will make unequals, equal. Perhaps that is already happening — the battle
wining factor in future combat may not be numerical equivalence but
“Brick and mortar
military structures and capacities, will perhaps matter less; technological
capacities in enabling domains like AI (artificial intelligence) and cyber will
decisively tip the military balance,” he said.
“The Army is
embracing low-hang technologies and inducting them with speed into our units
leveraging of emerging, disruptive domains is also receiving our concerted
attention. Capacities in space, cyber and electronic warfare, similarly, are
being given a boost. We are also looking at tapping blockchain technologies,
lasers and directed energy weapons for possible military use,” he said.