The education department should have a strict inspection team that audits all private schools, madrassas and dar-ul-ulooms for teaching the prescribed curriculum
“War is not black or white; it’s gray. If you don’t fight in the gray zone, you will lose. -Marcus Luttrel
Pakistan’s sinister proxy war plan against India began with simple steps when President Zia Ul Haq formulated the ‘Bleed A Thousand Cuts’ strategy. Its interference in Kashmir has multiplied in varied areas since the plan was executed in the early 1990s with “hybrid warfare”, a term which has now been redefined into a broader form of warfare encompassing many other areas. , the war of the gray zone. Gray Zone Warfare is a novelty that all military thinkers and planners are talking about. Is it old wine in a new bottle? Did we understand ‘ChanakyaNiti’ a bit late? Is it just another term for Hybrid Warfare?
The gray area is the ambiguous or unclear space between black and white. It is a state between the war and the continuum of peace. It involves the use of non-military means against the adversary to his own advantage. In military terms, these are actions that do not provoke full-scale conventional conflict or warfare, but still address the adversary’s vulnerabilities. The traditional spectrum of conflict from sub-conventional to conventional nuclear has now expanded to include many non-traditional areas across the entire strip. These include cyber, covert economic interference, triggering financial scams, counterfeit money, election manipulation, electronic subversion, legal attacks, influence of the target population through disinformation campaigns, diplomacy, narcotics and many other forms. It could be the use of kinetic forms like the use of guerrillas/terrorists or non-state actors. These could be selected for use against an opponent depending on the end state one wishes to achieve. Many, if not all, of them can be employed with ease of denial.
How are subsets from this Gray Zone Warfare used in J&K’s UT? Proxy warfare has entered an era characterized by the use of technology as well as the use of human resources. Every action of Pakistan is in the realm of the gray area and does not cross the threshold that could lead to a conventional reaction on our part. The tools that are now being used to support its ecosystem in the valley involve the use of sleeper cells, Over Ground Workers (OGW), kinetic actions through terrorists trained in Pakistan or recruited locally, a financial support system, influence operations via social media, diplomacy, counterfeit currency and use of drugs to destroy the younger generation, etc. In fact, ideological radicalization as a tool is used by managers on the other side of the line of control to identify gullible young people who are prone to radicalization. All of the above and many more are key ingredients in this form of warfare, which the adversary is waging against India. Since most of the functionality is non-military in nature, the answer must also be in the non-military domain. Pakistan portrays that infiltrated terrorists from different tanzeems have no connection with the Pakistani military, which makes it easy to deny. Replacing LeT (Lashar-eToiba) with TRF (The Resistance Front) is, again, a method of displaying non-attributability to 2 recognized tanzeems operating from Pakistan, to project it as an “in-house” resistance force. Disinformation campaigns through fake pseudonyms on social media, a feature of this war, are also widely exploited through pseudonyms used in Pakistan and other countries by the radicalized diaspora living there or abroad. ‘foreign. Pakistan Intelligence Operatives (PIO) calls and honey trap tools accompanied by cyber hacks associated with the use of AI and Internet of Things have made this war more complex to manage as there is no has no mechanism in place to counter such acts or unleash its own plan against the adversary. . J&K’s civilian administration lacks the means to deal with this non-military threat. While the J&K Army is working hard to counter this imminence, it alone cannot implement a response, which must be a whole-of-government approach. A general framework at the national level should be established, highlighting the approach to be implemented at the national level and at the UT level. Coordination between central agencies and UT is therefore vital.
While the resources within UT exist to deal with the non-military response to the war, it only needs to reorient itself with the belief that it is the duty of the administration and the people of the valley to respond to such threats with a coherent plan. Funding for the terrorist ecosystem operating in the Valley comes from domestic and international sources. J&K’s local backers receive money from abroad, not directly but through various backers based in different parts of the country. Any transactions entering UT through private accounts must be verified for authenticity. The banking system should automatically create a database of these transactions and share it with the NIA/SIA for investigation. A Central Bureau of Economic Intelligence cell under the Ministry of Finance should be established at J&K to deal with all economic offences. All mobile operators should be responsible for sharing data with the Department of Telecommunications. This should include all mobile numbers that are less or erratically used. All used hotspots should be shared automatically. Any calls from abroad, especially from Pakistan, should be reported. The call system on mobile phone applications such as Whatsapp or Telegram and or virtual numbers originating from Pakistan should be immediately put under surveillance. A data analysis unit should be established within the telecommunications department. Likewise, any negative or suspicious content coming out of the Valley via social media should be automatically monitored with location. The Media Wing, Electronic Media Monitoring Centre, National Cyber Security Coordination Center and CERT should have special cells to deal with J&K and have sub-centres in Srinagar/ Jammu. It is necessary to set up its own narrative building and counter propaganda teams in each district to deal with any false propaganda while pushing its own narrative. It is necessary to conduct a sentiment analysis of local people to extract negative views and opinions. All of this requires specialists in each field who must be hired through a special selection process. A team of legal experts in international law, cyber and social media law must be assembled and centrally employed by the judiciary to bring legal action against anyone who tries to defame the nation and the national spirit. Intelligence agencies at the national and UT level need to be equipped and given more authority. All of the above organizations are to be merged at the UT level to form a state Tier 3 security architecture. The education department should have a strict inspection team that audits all private schools, madrassas and dar-ul-ulooms for teaching the prescribed curriculum. Sudden raids on their premises and the installation of video cameras should deter teachers from getting involved in teaching radicalized content.
These threats cannot be addressed by government alone. The role of society is just as important. Responsible citizens are the most important and powerful component of the struggles in this area. Open criticism of the killings of innocents through candlelight marches, announcements in masjids and other forums will weaken the opponent’s resolve. Every troll campaign conducted by a dedicated agency must be supported to create a storm. Social media IDs can be easily blocked if the local population decides to block them collectively. The terrorist families chased by the whole village will break the bond they have in the village. Sarpanchs and panchs must immediately report any strangers in the village to the police through the hotline numbers. No logistical support to the terrorist will significantly reduce his survivability. The recent example, where villagers prevented a terrorist movement by making noise when a Pakistani terrorist tried to enter a house by force, is to be imitated by others. Photos of these terrorists should be put in the public domain. Terrorists have no external support structure; they depend on a few OGWs that must be exhibited by the locals. Close relatives of the local terrorist should be denied any government positions. As a society, Kashmiris should not allow any extremist organization to promote their own evil agenda. Young people must openly and vehemently challenge their ideology and actions. Legal action against these organizations must be strictly enforced. There should be an immediate rebuttal by the people of the
‘Kashmir Card’ played by Pakistan in international forums.
Gray Zone Warfare is rapidly evolving and taking different forms. Simultaneous applications of all tools without any attribution will lead to a precarious situation in J&K. Since the actions of the gray area are non-military in nature, its response must also be in the same form for which government agencies and society must act together in coordination with security forces as part of a whole-of-government approach. . The counter-campaign and its own actions within the state and in Pakistan must be launched simultaneously to counter the nefarious designs of the adversary. “It’s a gray world. Trying to make sense of it based on black-and-white book pages is like trying to build a spaceship with fifth-grade math.
Abhijit Naskar, “The woman on the world: the novel”