Fourth generation warfare


One need not be particularly perceptive or savvy to realise that our regional and internal security environment is extremely fraught and fragile at the present time. The US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent collapse of the Government there, much like a house of cards, did come as an unpleasant surprise, especially as it turns out that the Pakistan's ISI supported Haqqani Faction now calls the shots within the Taliban. No wonder then that Pakistan is becoming increasingly emboldened and has once again turned its attention with renewed vigour towards fomenting trouble in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. In conjunction with this, there has also been a ratcheting up of tensions along the LAC with China. Along with its continued intransigence in Eastern Ladakh, it also carried out a major incursion in the Barahoti Sector. In addition, it has reportedly established a large village cum military encampment, allegedly on our side of the border, in Arunachal Pradesh, with fresh reports of another as well. There are also similar reports of establishment of four such villages within Bhutanese territory as well.
There are also reports that it is constructing an alternative route into the Chumbi Valley, through Bhutanese territory, that would be less vulnerable to interference and interdiction from our positions in Sikkim. This construction, when connected to the stretch earlier constructed in the Doklam Plateau that leads to the foothills of the Jampheri Ridge, will substantially enhance the vulnerability of the strategically vital Siliguri Corridor that connects the North East.
Our internal situation, too, has similarly become increasingly brittle. Not only has the insurgency taken a turn for the worse in the Valley, given the steep rise in militant activity, but what has really added to the uncertainty is the targeted killings of civilians, especially from minority communities. In addition, the situation in the Poonch-Rajouri sector is fluid. Ongoing operations, in which the Army has suffered substantial casualties, commenced over a month ago, and still show no signs of ending. This suggests that militants are operating in strength, which is unexpected and reminiscent of the conditions that prevailed there a couple of decades ago. We are certainly owed an explanation as to how the situation was allowed to deteriorate to this extent. It is wholly inconceivable that our bureaucrats and military leadership are not fully conversant with the linkages and ramifications of these developments. One cannot, however, say the same for our political establishment. It seems to inhabit an alternate universe in which all that matters is promoting self-serving agendas, fuelling dissension and distrust, and winning the next election on the horizon. Unfortunately, by their actions and words, both the military leadership and civilian bureaucracy appear to have forsaken their own moral and constitutional responsibilities and are busy genuflecting to the powers that be.

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