Hybrid Warfare is a military strategy that employs political warfare and composites conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyber warfare with other influencing methods such as fake news, diplomacy, and electoral intervention.
Hybrid warfare is a new challenge that Pakistan is facing and is linked with the exploitation of identity issues especially in tribal areas which were recently merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province. Hybrid Warfare can be defined as externally provoked identity conflicts, which exploit historical, ethnic, religious, socio-economic and geographic difference within geostrategic transit states through the phased transition from color revolutions to unconventional warfare to disrupt, control, or influence multipolar transnational connective infrastructure projects by the means of regime tweaking, regime change or regime reboot. Such wars are supported by external powers to fuel identity conflicts such as Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, provoking Baluchistan insurgency or terrorism in whole Pakistan.
In Pakistan, India is actively involved in exploiting these fault lines since 1947 and Pakistan lost thousands of citizens and security persons due to Indian conspiracies. This type of conflicts are fuelled which are a combination of natural and synthetic reasons and these conflicts pre-exist almost within every single country in the world with different intensity, but these conflicts do not catalyze political change unless external actors support or aggravation is present and India is working constantly to create such divisions.
Indian intelligence agencies are actively involved in destabilizing Pakistan recently caught an Indian intelligence agent commander Kulbhushan, he revealed during interrogations Indian Hybrid war plans against Pakistan. Baluchistan issue is an example of India’s hybrid warfare against Pakistan, which has been evolving from time to time, a recent wave of suicide attacks by Baloch separatists and attack on Chinese embassy depicts India’s intention to disrupt CPEC in Baluchistan in future. Different external actors are also involved in destabilizing Pakistan such as America and western countries and some Arab countries also fund separatists in Baluchistan and harbor them.
This problem is not only in Pakistan but every single country is vulnerable to at least one of five identity indicators that are historical, ethnic, religious, socio-economic and geo-graphic.
In Pakistan’s security dynamics external actors constantly try to provoke these fault lines. These above-mentioned identity indicators do not have to be active anywhere but the ground for exploitation exists, which in some cases could then be manipulated by others to create artificial conflicts, historical differences which every country has, these might relate to old political rivalries between groups or to recently acquired territory. Then there are ethnic and religious issues, which are between or within different groups, while socio-economic issues also emerge due to inequality and systematic economic and institutional challenges and in the end there, are identity differences.
Geographic differences are further divided into physical and political. People living in Baluchistan for instance usually have a different identity than those living in the Punjab or Kashmir and the same goes for politics. At the moment our nation is at externally provoked identity conflict in geostrategic transit states. Pakistan is a multicultural and multi-ethnic state and we need to take measures to tackle such threats.
Hybrid wars are just tactically defended against through democratic institutions and inclusive patriotism, but also through advanced knowledge about how they function and what they entail, so the more awareness among citizens less potential recruiters for foreign hostile actors. And also if citizens are educated and aware of hybrid warfare, then there are fewer chances of success of foreign agendas. Unity is a killer of identity conflicts and Pakistan must promote it with full force, if the whole society is aware of hybrid warfare and about its functioning then there are quite fewer chances of damage in case of crucial times.
Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s doctrine indicates India’s hybrid warfare ambitions against Pakistan. The doctrine envisages engaging the enemy at three levels, defensive, defensive-offensive and offensive. The offensive-defensive mode requires going into Pakistan and tackling the problem where it originated which is a fabrication. As his infamous statement is on record in which he said that you do one Mumbai you may lose Baluchistan and further said that India will unconventionally use conventional means to achieve its goals which are part of hybrid warfare. So the hybrid war already has been waged against Pakistan especially in Baluchistan where India is fuelling the fire. Pakistan requires a credible response by formulating offensive rules of engagement toward all hostile nations especially India and our future national security measures require a major up-gradation on all fronts of war ranging from conventional modernization, cybersecurity to offensive actions against enemies of Pakistan beyond borders by whatever means required.