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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Hybrid war and the Chanakyan practices by India

Hybrid War isn't a brand-new occurrence that arose out of nowhere, like rain plants. Propaganda, deceit, sabotage, and other non-military strategies have all been employed to destabilize enemies for a long time. Their origins and goals can be traced back to much older schools of political philosophy created by Chanakya, an ancient Hindu economist, philosopher, teacher, and royal adviser who lived between 4th and 3rd BC.

Hybrid War is not a new phenomenon that has sprouted and grown suddenly like the rainfall plants. Hybrid methods of warfare, such as propaganda, deception, sabotage and other non-military tactics have long been used to destabilize adversaries. Their origin and objectives can be traced back to much older schools of political thought developed by Chanakya between 4th BC and 3rd BC, who was an ancient Hindu economist, philosopher, teacher and royal adviser. He authored the ancient Indian political treatise, the Arthashastra which discussed international relations and war strategies in detail.

Chanakya, like Machiavelli, advises the ruler to make use of devious strategies in war against the enemy. Dharma yuddha i.e just war may be an ideal but Chanakya recommends Kutayuddha, the evil, crooked war and insists that if the enemy cannot be defeated on the battlefield, then ethics is to be taken out of war to steal the victory. Guerilla warfare, sabotage, bribery, deception, hatching conspiracies, concocting half-truths, outright lies, assassination are permissible to weaken the enemy. Chanakya, known as the Indian Machiavelli, likewise believed that a ruler should combine the ruthlessness of a lion and the cunning of a fox. He should devise foxy ways to work in a clandestine manner to collude with a second party to defeat the third party.

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What is the credibility of military awards?

These Chanakyan practices are evidenced in the Indian President conferring military awards on groundless grounds. Hindustan Times published a picture on Nov.11, 2021, that shows Mr. Kovind, The President of India awarding Padma Shri to a “Pakistani Army Officer, Lt Col Qazi Sajjad Ali Zahir (R) in recognition of his contributions to the military history of the Sub Continent”. According to the citation, this officer had defected from Pakistan Army in 1971, crossed over to India with important operational plans from Sialkot Sector. Later he moved to Bangladesh to train Mukti Bahini (terrorists), and there is a death penalty on him in Pakistan for the last 50 years.

However, the truth is that the officer mentioned in the picture is from 45 PMA Long Course, which passed out on 28 Aug. 1971 (two months earlier due to impending war), and the officers joined the units in the first week of Sep. 1971. This officer must have defected in Oct or so, and he was then 2nd Lt with only two months of service at best. What access to operational plans a 2nd Lt has, is well known. Second thing is that Mukti Bahini came on the ground after the troops of the East Bengal Regiment (EBR) and East Pakistan Civil Armed Forces (EPCAF) revolted in Mar 1971.

With a compelling sense of duty, the Pakistan Army performed the Herculean task of cleaning the Augean stables; reestablishing law and order, checking the horrific atrocities that the terrorists had unleashed against non-Bengalis, rescuing and rehabilitating the survivors of merciless genocide by the Indian funded terrorists who masqueraded as freedom fighters. By the time this officer defected, reached India and then to Eastern Front, the Indian Army had attacked and a proper war in the Eastern Sector had started.  Hence the claim that he crossed over to India with operational plans and then trained Mukti Bahini is all false. Similarly, the issue of the death penalty is another fabrication. No one was tried in absentia in Pakistan hence the claim is though sensational but again false.

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India’s continued efforts of maligning Pakistan’s army 

In another citation, the President of India Kovind has recently conferred Vir Chakar, the third-highest military on Indian air force pilot Abhinandan for shooting down F–16 of Pakistan Air Force. This is a blatant lie. The truth is that the Indian air force pilot Abhinandan was captured by Pakistani forces on 27 Feb. 2019 as his jet MiG – 21 Bison was shot down in what Islamabad called a “retaliation” to India conducting airstrikes in its territory. According to BBC, his capture was seen as a major setback for India. He was returned to India two days later, in what Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan described as a “peace gesture”.

This outright lie is a vile attempt to defame the high level of proficiency of the Pakistan Army as well as boost up the languishing low morale of the Indian forces. Morale is a pivotal factor in strengthening national consciousness in both peace and war. High morale is prompted by a strong belief in a cause that gives meaning to life and energy to the will to fight. This is evidenced by the courage with which the Pakistan Army fought like gladiators in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, as the Indian General Sam Manek Shaw said in an interview to BBC that the Indian army had numerical strength of 15:1in 1971, yet the Pakistan Army fought very bravely.

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Brig. Saad Ullah Khan H.J. writes in his book “East Pakistan to Bangladesh” that as the war was raging between India and Pakistan in erstwhile East Pakistan, they intercepted a conversation between two Indian officers who were lamenting the lowered morale of the Indian army. They had plenty of ammunition, air and engineering support but as one of the Indian officers said they could not inject the will to fight in their men. The conclusion: Chanakyan practices cannot always deceive nor can they make a nation a strong nation.


Professor Dr. Aalia Sohail Khan, former Vice-Chancellor Rawalpindi Women University Pakistan. 33 years of experience in teaching English literature and language at postgraduate level. 7 years of administrative experience.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.