Pakistanâ€™s Hybrid War » Indian Defence Review A peculiarly important news item that I came across whilewriting this column (January 10) is about the Manmohan Singh governmentâ€™s decisionto implement the visa-on-arrival facility at the Attari-Wagah check post to Pakistani nationals over 65 years of age from January 15. Under the liberalised visa regime, parts of which were operationalised during the visit of Pakistan interiorminister Rehman Malik to New Delhi on December 14, senior citizens above 65 years can visit twice a year and can go to five places in the country. Why I found this news peculiar was the timing of the decision. It came on the immediate backdrop of the barbaric raid of Pakistani soldiers across the line of control in the Poonch region of Jammu and Kashmir (January 8). They killed two Indian soldiers, severed oneâ€™s head and took that back into their territory as aâ€˜trophyâ€. In fact, they nearlybeheaded the other Indian soldier but failed in taking his as the Indian troops fired at them. Predictably, the Pakistan government has denied the involvement of its soldiers in this savage act following the uproar in India. This heinous style of killing the â€œenemyâ€ is nothing new for the Pakistani Army; they have done this before manya time. In fact, the Pakistani Army, along with its fellow travelers al-Qaida and the Taliban, has given some type of religious (Islamic) stamp to this style of barbaric execution. One does not recall a single instance since the partition of the country in 1947 when Pakistan admitted of its involvement in any aggression against India in the beginning â€“ be it the 1948 and 1965 wars, or the semi- war in Kargil in 1999, or the attacks by its state-sponsored terrorists on Indian parliament in 2001 and city of Mumbai in 2008. Its brazen denial this time too is thus no different and should be dismissed contemptuously. The bigger question is what should be Indiaâ€™s response to Pakistanâ€™s â€œhybrid warâ€ on India. As I have explained elsewhere, hybridwar, a term popularised by the American strategic analyst Frank Hoffman, means multiple types of warfare being used simultaneously by the adversary. Here, it will engage in irregular warfare,often taking the help of the non-state actors in its territory, apart from preparing for the conventional war to serve its ends. And when one talksof the irregular war, it involves terrorist mercenaries, deadly criminals, drug-traffickers and insurgents etc. in the enemy country. The idea here is to unleash indiscriminate violence (often communal), coercion and criminal disorder. At the strategic levels, hybrid wars ensure that there is a clear linkage between the regular and irregular (the so-called non-state actors);in fact, in many a case the distinction between them gets blurred. They are operationally integrated andtactically fused. In fact, under hybrid war, the warfare becomes quite unrestricted. Multiple means â€“ military but more non-military â€“ are used against the enemy. Hacking into websites, targeting financial institutions, terrorism, using the media, and conducting urban warfare are among the methods championed. There are no rules or norms of war; in fact nothing is forbidden. These elements of hybrid war perfectly match Pakistanâ€™s policies towards India. No wonder why Malik, during his â€œflop visitâ€ to India last month, did not findany role of Hafiz Saeed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. He did not find anything wrong in Saeedâ€™s relentless hate-speeches against India. He did not acknowledge the presence of Indian fugitives on Pakistani soil. He even went to the extent of ridiculing Indiaâ€™s complaint of ill-treatment of Indian prisoners of war in Pakistan, flouting the globally recognised norms. He brushed aside the agonyof Captain Saurabh Kaliaâ€™s father who received his sonâ€™s body, mutilated and with all the organs cut after 20 days of the Kargil war. Infact, the beheading of Indiansoldiers a fortnight after hisvisit, is adding salt to the Indiaâ€™s wound. Pakistan continues to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy against India. And it seems that the UPA government is now reconciled to live with this factor. Systematically, the Manmohan Singh government has de-hyphenated terrorism from diplomacy with Pakistan. Born in what is today Pakistan, Manmohan Singh, like many influential Indians who have not forgotten their roots in Pakistan, romantacises that India shares its destiny withPakistan and believes in theapproach of peace at any cost with Pakistan. As a result, without Pakistanâ€™s commitment to deny the anti-India forces from using its territory and resources, Indian officials and ministershave been meeting their Pakistani counterparts. Kashmirâ€™s separatist leaders are being allowed tovisit Pakistan and meet its officials freely, though no Indian authority is ever allowed to interact with people from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.