Anurag Dwivedi writes: The recent Kashmir embroglio including terrorist strike on the Army garrison at Uri has resulted in a tsunami of reactions. The sequence has been predictable.
- An inquiry was ordered and martyrs cremated in media presence.
- TV anchors washed rinsed and repeated the senseless rhetoric bluster.
- Social media warriors engaged in valiant battles on Twitter, Facebook etc. So called celebrities also contributed their wisdom.
- The Government went through its high level crisis meetings.
- Print media came out with more balanced and in-depth articles/ editorials. Not many viable new options however emerged.
- Political parties put up a united front while not shying away from maneuvers to gain future high ground.
- Diplomatic choreography is being conducted.
- The community of nations has condemned Pakistan in a more or less routine manner – using language whose strength is proportional to their respective national / commercial interest.
Declaring all-out war and conducting a trans-border raid or fire assault on a terrorist camp were the primary knee-jerk options to be re-visited and get discarded. They are either disproportionate or unviable or poor in terms of overall risk-benefit.
Several secondary options starting from a Baluchistan tit-for-tat to Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation to abrogating the Indus treaty are also being debated. Pros and cons obviously exist in each of them but most importantly none of them seem to satisfy the following two litmus criteria:-
- None of the secondary options cause immediate and pin-point material or moral harm to the actual perpetrators
- None of the secondary options prevent or delay the next attack
What has emerged is that we don’t have too many precise options. Such a state of helplessness can be seriously detrimental to the nation’s political stability, safety and morale – which is exactly what the enemy desires. Or is it that we have not explored or dared to think beyond the conventional? What else short of full blown war / trans-border assaults can achieve the twin objectives above?
The answer lies in Information Warfare and its integrated domains of Cyber Warfare, Electronic Warfare, Psychological Operations and Deception. Conducted in a sustained and planned manner – a well-designed Info Ops campaign can target the terrorist organisations and masterminds, their command and control network, finances as well as the credibility of their leaders / ideology. This not only achieves the twin objectives of pin-point targeting the actual perpetrators and preventing / delaying future attacks – it also avoids the negative fallout that accompanies other options under consideration.
Info Ops do not permanently eliminate the terrorist threat (which even a physical attack won’t) but it hurts the actual perpetrators and it can delay or deter future attacks. As a bonus it can also detect plans, provide early warning and assist in thwarting any imminent attacks. Used in conjunction with other overt and covert secondary options, this is a viable long term strategy to counter the Pakistani designs.