PAKISTAN has rightly blamed India of massively engaged in a dastardly campaign of ‘fifth-generation warfare’ to obstruct Pakistan’s road to prosperity mainly through targeting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan’s international image. “Unfortunately, it’s a major onslaught, it’s a major part of the fifth-generation warfare. Pakistan is being subjected to […] hybrid applications in a massive way and we are aware of that,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General said. But it’s affirmed that Pakistan Army is fully prepared to thwart two-pronged Indian conspiracy, to weaken our bond with Islam, and create a rift between the army and people by exploiting the tools of social media.
The 5th Generation Warfare [5GW] cultivation syndrome is a new advancement in the history of modern warfare where information and cultural war gains more pivotal consideration than that of the 3 0r 4 GW where a battle field high power and the use of non-state actors were systematically characterized. Yet the 5GW warfare is sown or triggered to germinate the seeds of hate to sprout the divide and its unprecedented usage made to develop en-kindled arrow effect on target public fitted/directed in a free democratic society. The said paradoxes are deliberately crafted by hostile think tanks, funded by their agencies and launched by media impostors and related spoofing agents. The prime objective of such dastardly campaign is to hit ideological foundations of Pakistan thereby depriving the state institutions of populace support. Regrettably, specified Media knitted semiotics paradigms with satirical travesty are used to mislead consumers (readers/viewers) from the original issues and truthful content.
Research on global security has led to the identification of another new generation of warfare which is hybrid in nature. The paradigm of national security is highly affected by 5 GW. The subject of security is a fundamental aspect of paramount importance in International Relations (IR). The lore of Realists considers the State the most imperative player in the nation- state system of IR. The state excels for their survival through safeguarding their security and sovereignty above all means. As a state resort to military power being the necessity to ensure their survival against internal and external threats from the enemies.
As transformation would have it, the centuries-old conventional jargons/doctrines in the domain of warfare are replaced with new concepts/techniques/synergies. Non-Kinetic challenges to the states are more pronounced than Kinetic ones in today’s world. The concept is that both 5GW and Hybrid Warfare require a different perspective than what we have had applied so far on the other generations and forms of warfare. The academics believe that “Hybrid Warfare” has shown its manifestation and is continuously evolving itself. The concept is that both 5th Generation Warfare and Hybrid Warfare require a different perspective than what we have applied so far on the other generations and forms of warfare. No commonly accepted definition exists for both 5GW and Hybrid Warfare.
Some see 5GW as a decentralized form of warfare as it is characterized by blurring lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians, being a long-term and complex warfare. On the other hand, Hybrid Warfare is a military strategy that blends conventional, irregular and cyber warfare and is the product of new technologies like nanotechnology, coupled with an indirect political approach. Given the rate at which change in warfare is accelerating, it is reasonable to accept that 5GW has transformed itself into Hybrid Warfare. These two kinds of threats have multi-faceted dimensions and the security arrangements against them have undergone immense changes vis-à-vis modern warfare.
For a state like Pakistan which anticipates both physical (hard means) and non-physical (ideological to economic to cyber security threats from its enemies, hence finds challenges to its national survival of complex nature and high magnitude. The state possesses the sole authority within its geographical limits and full authority in its internal domain. No external power can intervene in its domestic affairs. All states have an equal entity in comity of nations and all are bound to respect sovereignty of other states. The exploitation of domestic fault lines (like political, economic and societal) is the main target of 5GW and hybrid warfare. The incremental approach that is followed is designed to gut a state from within. Threats of 5GW and Hybrid Warfare are very much relevant to Pakistan. The adversary is targeting Pakistan from within through extremists and terrorists as proxies for thousands cuts strategy. After the overt nuclearisation of Pakistan in 1998, any conventional war adventure remains too costly for our adversaries. Fighting Hybrid War against Pakistan under the rubric of nuclear weapons has become a preferred strategy by enemies. Addressing a ceremony marking Defence Day and Martyrs’ Day, the September 06 at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, Pakistan Army Chief General Bajwa said Pakistan is facing multiple challenges aimed at discrediting the country and its defence forces.
“We are facing the challenge that has been imposed on us in the form of the fifth generation or hybrid war. Its purpose is to discredit the country and its defence forces and spread chaos”, he said. “We are well aware of this danger. We will surely succeed in winning this war with the cooperation of the nation.” Because of the growing volatile and complex regional strategic environment in South Asia particularly India’s expanding fifth generation warfare, Pakistan is bound to modernize both its armed forces and the weaponry system. But there can be no denying that arms race always causes power transition and generate misperception, which encourages conflicted parties to adopt preventive war strategies rather than work sincerely on stability. Arguably, in a post-truth era where objective facts are less influential in shaping opinion compared with a repetitive assertion of certain agenda points, foreign policy has become the battlefield of competing narratives. Selling Pakistan’s view abroad has become increasingly inevitable for disseminating Pakistan’s policies rationale through the intellectuals. Undoubtedly, the information domain has become extremely important for projecting our narrative on both domestic and international audiences. By all necessary means, Pakistan’s defence forces and the spy agency-ISI have the full capacity building to counter India’s any offensive via 5GW against Pakistan.
—The writer, an independent ‘IR’ researcher-cum-international law analyst based in Pakistan, is member of European Consortium for Political Research Standing Group on IR, Critical Peace & Conflict Studies, also a member of Washington Foreign Law Society and European Society of International Law.