A Monthly Journal of the IDSA
Strategy: A Vital Determinant for Army Force Structure Planning
By H.P.S. Klair *
War Prevention may still necessitate a preventive war
- Kenneth N. Waltz
The lack of institutionalised mechanisms to formulate strategy is well known. 1 The decade long suppressed funding, rather than activate revolutionary and innovative changes, has only led to curtailing the 'readiness' and 'sustainability' of the forces. Linear and incremental planning continues. Investment priorities remaining unchanged for two decades, 'is not to make sense, but it is to keep faith', 2 and in the words of Bharat Karnad the Indian Military is equipped with the wrong weapons to fight the wrong enemy in the fin de siecle and beyond.
Given the present realities, the changing nature of threats, the conflict spectrum, the ongoing Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and the nuclearisation of the subcontinent, it is imperative that we fashion our military strategy in the light of these developments and in consonance with our military doctrine. Our force options will flow from it. The nuclear backdrop to this paper is predicated on the draft nuclear doctrine as enunciated by the National Security Advisory Board. The conventional military strategy must have an interactive relationship with it, so as to facilitate synergy. This paper would attempt to see how specifically military strategy becomes a vital determinant or 'force driver' in our force structure planning, primarily Army force structure planning.
National Security Strategy
National security strategy is often used interchangeably with national strategy or grand strategy. It is defined as 'the nations' plan for the coordinated use of all the instruments of state power-nonmilitary as well as military-to pursue objectives that defend and advance its national interest'. 3 It is nearly synonymous to grand strategy in wartime, which according to Liddell Hart 'coordinates and directs all the resources of a nation...towards the attainment of the political object of the war'. 4 All strategy is concerned with the relationship between ends and means, power and objectives, capabilities and intentions i.e. how resources can be applied to achieve results. While the horizon of military strategy is bounded by the use of military forces, grand strategy 'looks beyond the war to the subsequent peace'. 5 Since strategy is the method and means of achieving goals assigned by policy, it remains subordinate to policy, be it at the national level or the military/defence level.
Military strategy is designed to attain, through the use of military assets, military and security objectives. It is predicated on physical violence or the threat of violence, whereas national strategy is not concerned with the efficient application of force but with the exploitation of potential force. The prefix military has become essential today, due to the various connotations the word strategy has acquired, though 'strategy' is derived indirectly from Greek 'stratego's' 6 (general) and strategema, precisely 'stratagems' or tricks of war. It is a process which unites means with ends, and as such it is an intrinsically practical endeavour. Many analysts have attempted a prescriptive definition of military strategy and thus strayed from its essence and focus. Andre Beaufre's succinct normative definition 7 of it being 'the art of the dialectics of will that use force to resolve their conflict,' appears to be the most appropriate. The semantic purist may wish to bring in other amplifications, but this should suffice for our purpose.
Military strategy is derived from the grand strategy of a nation and its military policy. The latter helps determine military objectives, which are tangible goals, that if accomplished assure the fulfilment of military policy. Military strategy provides the efficient means to fulfill policy, the other prime component of defence policy is the force structure or instrumentalities to execute policy. The clarity with which policy will be defined will provide clear military objectives and thus facilitate efficient and focused strategy. The absence of this clarity of policy as in Vietnam (by USA) made it difficult to define clear-cut military objectives and goals. The result was a deterioration into what Clausewitz had termed: an aimless progression of killing that was irresponsible to the extent that it did not fulfill any clearly preceivable military strategy. The predicament of the IPKF in Sri Lanka was also a product of this lack of clarity resulting in an unaccomplished mission.
Military strategy must not be restricted to war or the struggle of arms in a violent conflict. A strategy during peace time or in our context in 'no war no peace' situations has to be fashioned differently, as the objectives are different. This may be a prolonged affair when there is a long-term competition between adversial powers. Military strategy thus must cover the full range of functions that military force structures endeavour to cover from 'signalling' to 'war'.
The dynamic nature of national/military strategy must be clearly understood, as the best course of action for each side depends on what the other side does and hence the need to clearly read the adversaries' capabilities and intentions before designing one's own strategy. This as per Edward Luttwak necessitates following 'paradoxical logic' in contrast to 'linear logic'. Paradoxical logic takes into account what the adversary is likely to do in response to one's strategy, like field theory in physics in which everything depending on and varying with, everything else. This recognises that proceeding directly toward a goal will almost certainly result in the adversary erecting obstacles and taking countermeasures. This necessitates what is called the 'indirect approach', the round about or even devious course to ensure favourable results.
In Liddel Hart's words the true aim of strategy 'is not so much to seek battle, as to seek a strategic situation so advantageous that if it does not of itself produce the decision, its continuation by a battle is sure to achieve this. In other words dislocation is the aim of strategy'. 8 Dislocation not just in the physical or logistical sphere (e.g. upset dispositions, endangers supplies etc) but more importantly in the psychological sphere as well. Psychological dislocation springs from this sense of being trapped. The two combine together to achieve Liddell Hart's truly indirect approach' to dislocate the opponent's balance. Since strategy seeks not to overcome resistance but to diminish the possibility of resistance, it exploits movement in the physical sphere and surprise in the psychological sphere to achieve it. The two are mutually compatible in a synergetic relationship where movement generates surprise and surprise gives impetus to movement.
The relevance of aims like destruction of the enemy's armed forces, victory and Clausewitzian 'blood is the price of victory' approach, is counterproductive. An efficient and effective strategy should produce a decision without any serious fighting and where fighting becomes necessary or inevitable, the 'aim of strategy must be to bring about this battle under the most advantageous circumstances, the less, proportionately, will be the fighting'. 9 In states like India, which do not seek conquest but the maintenance of its security, the aims of strategy may be met by limited objectives which help force the adversary to abandon his purpose.
While fashioning military strategies it is essential to reiterate that though war is the ultimate physical clash of adversarial states, with the military the dominant component-military strategies can be as much about peace and war prevention as about bringing one's military forces to battle in the most favourable circumstances possible. To structure these strategies it is essential to understand the nature and causes of war or more relevant today 'military conflict.' Gwyn Prins 10 argues, that 'the means of destruction have become so tremendous that their nature tends to negate their political effect, and their use tends, fairly reliably, to defeat or to frustrate the original political purpose for which force was to be employed'. Secondly, strength based on a particular capability bandwidth cannot cover the full conflict spectrum. Illustratively the Israeli success at Blitzkrieg tank tactics heaped a humiliating defeat, sowing, the seeds for revenge in the form of the 'Intifada', to 'defeat so technically competent an enemy it was better to escalate downwards into the realm of guerrilla warfare rather than upwards, to confront the enemy on its own terms'. The Pakistan proxy war strategy has similar (not same) motivations. Thirdly, 'the application of force, whether by states or by their increasingly 'asymmetric' opponents, serves only, serves perhaps best, to paralyse. Decisive resolution by military means increasingly eludes us.'
Among the causes of war 'the quintessential is a leader's misperception of his adversary's power'. 11 It is not the actual distribution of power that precipitates a war, it is the way in which a leader thinks that power is distributed. War teaches the lesson of reality (peace is made when reality has won. The road that leads from misconception to reality separates war and peace. War remains the best teacher of reality and hence the most effective cure for war).
Since the nature of modern war and weapons does not permit an allout indefinite engagement, the proper aim of conventional armed forces therefore is not to defeat the enemy but to restabilise the situation at some different level, thus allowing some form of negotiation or mediation to resume. In sum, diplomacy becomes a continuation of war by other means.
The primary constraint today is imposed by nuclear weapons in the region. Hence military victory by conventional means would not be a sound aim if it carried the opposition across the nuclear threshold. This will force military planners to set objectives which do enough to turn the tide and yet not trip the nuclear threshold. The aim is to enlarge the conventional war window by certain limited war aims, against an adversary where we enjoy a conventional edge. This calls for finesse of judgement and delicacy of execution. Where we do not have an edge in conventional means, the strategy options would be different.
This imposition of constraints on the operational aim apparently runs contrary to the Clausewitzian 'grammar of war' and 'represents a degree of political control which conflicts with the nature of war, or calls for a precision incompatible with the friction of war'. 12 However, today with sensible applications of technology, fine tuning of this kind is feasible and military strategy has to be guided by the wider view from the higher plane of grand strategy. Controlling the level of violence is a basic postulate of war.
The place of military in the national security lexicon was explained in an earlier paper. 13 The American Blue Ribbon Commission on Defence Management 14 in its summary states that the 'National Security Objectives provide a clear statement of what we must achieve, military strategy should provide a clear statement of how we will achieve it within the constraint of resources'. It must answer the under mentioned:-
Technically strategy alone does not determine the required military capabilities and the kind of forces required to fulfill them. Opposing forces, technology development and availability, and service preference, all play a part. But strategy is supposed to cover all these externalities in its formulation and application.
Hence to overcome biases and be an efficient force driver, it is essential that military strategy be formulated at the highest level. Because service proposals frequency tend to 'imply a dominance or priority of one service over the other, with all that it implies for encroachment upon the other services' role, stature and claim to resource', 15 It is also institutionalised within the army and we are no different from most other armies where the 'guilds of the army-its branches, particularly the powerful combat arms branches-freeze the army by their understandable interests in maintaining the continuity and stability of internal power. Any change in the army poses a potential threat to its internal balance of the branches; therefore will instinctively move to paralyse the army leadership against change'. This ensures a 'stable balance of power among its three traditional combat arms branches-infantry, artillery and cavalry'. 16
Such institutional biases can only be removed by evolving efficient multi-disciplinary mechanisms. Efficient utilisation of resources in meeting the given objectives is possibly the most reliable barometer against which various options can be evaluated by a joint service organisation at the apex, with the requisite authority and competence. These alone can decipher the service strategies which though couched or wrapped in the language of war, weapons, technology and strategy, are at their core about organisational and institutional interest. This malaise is widespread, both inter and intra service and needs to be guarded. It is a function of organisational behaviour and present in most large organisations. The army like many large institutions, 'is captive of its own internal fiefdoms'. 17
While strategy is a process that unites means with ends, it has to surmount the threat/obstacles/challenges en route. Hence a clear understanding of these in relation to our objectives is essential. While these are being covered in a separate paper, for the purpose of this paper it would be adequate to say that our strategic frontiers lie well beyond our territorial borders in the space Kissinger had foreseen 'from Suez to Singapore' and would include the Central Asian Republics (CAR). The apex military structure in consultation with the JIC, (Joint Intelligence Committee) needs to prepare a 'net threat assessment' which compares our military capabilities in comparison to our potential adversaries. This is used to formulate and evaluate the military strategy options.
In consonance with our potential and recognition of our responsibilities, it is essential to have the military capabilities to strengthen diplomacy within our strategic frontiers. Such a role has to be predicated on our ability to shape and influence events in the region (a la Maldives). The importance of regional stability will grow as regional and global economic interdependnce grows. Our regional leadership will dictate regional responsibilities and 'burden sharing' to safeguard challenges common to our national interest and the regional community. Energy security, security of the sea lanes and the security of the Indian community or Diaspora in the region are legitimate security interests. This requires precise military capability and more importantly tri-service capability, 'seamlessly integrated'. Such a capability though smaller than our primary security challenges from our two larger neighbours, cannot be a lesser inclusive capability, premised on what is good for the cat is good enough for the kittens. Such a capability needs to be specifically structured for, though overlapping of capabilities is inevitable and desirable.
The threats from China and Pakistan are well known and shown in the matrices below for brevity:
Table 1. Future Sino-Indian Probability Matrix
Short Term Peace - Effort at encirclement and containment using proxy powers.
Long Term Rivalry - Short border war/skirmish.
Future Indo-Pak Probability Matrix
Short Term Brinkmanship - Continued state sponsored cross- border terrorism.
Mid Term Stabilisation of conflict - Stabilisation based on nuclear deterrence, international pressures and economic dictates.
Long Term Deterrence based peace. - Internal economic and political Power Transition instability in Pakistan.
The above threats have to be seen in the context of the spectrum of conflict extending from low intensity conflict to conventional and nuclear dimensions. While full spectrum capabilities are essential to avoid any 'windows of vulnerability' that may be exploited, the more sophisticated use of force i.e. signaling, posturing discriminate deterrence and extending to proxy and limited war are the more prevalent form of armed conflict in the 'action fields' of tomorrow, vis-a-vis the 'battlefield' of yesteryears. Thus military threats from our adversaries have to be seen over this conflict continuum. The nuclear backdrop will remain.
Present Military Strategy
'India for nearly 5000 years had adopted what may be broadly accepted as defensive defence strategies, 18 this resulted in repeated external aggression. The four periods of exception i.e. the Kanishka Empire, the Chola Empire, the early Mohgul Empire and the British Indian Empire, when strategic outposts beyond the state boundaries were maintained and this ensured security against external aggression. These exceptions offer us valuable lessons for the future. A recognition that our strategic frontiers lie far beyond our territorial border would be a befitting, internalisation of the lessons of history and would help us build the requisite strategy and capabilities.
The same can also be deduced from the four points officially made with regard to our national security interests. 19 Ideally military strategy would flow out of our national security policy and strategy. Even though the above have not been explicitly spelt out over the last five decades, a reasonably clear understanding of military objectives is possible (given the general consensus on foreign policy that we have experienced since independence) so as to fashion a military strategy if not systematically and holistically, at least in an ad hoc manner till the government in its wisdom decides to act on the Estimates Committees recommendations on the need for a 'clear articulated and integrated defence policy' and a 'formal National Security Doctrine'. 20 The 'ad hoc process' 21 of the services preparing 'national strategy papers, which act as de facto national strategy in the absence of any Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs/Cabinet Committee on Security (CCPA/CCS) endorsed strategy' may be the best we have till better instrumentalities are in place. The priorities of Indian strategy have been 'independence, internal security and territorial integrity'. 22
But structures can only be in place once it is recognised that the 'diversified bureaucratic apparatus of modern states is itself a powerful obstacle to the implementation of any comprehensive scheme of grand strategy. Each civil and military department is structured to pursue its own goals'. 23 The services 'consensus' approach is flawed, as it is likely to have each service desired role built in and hence inefficient in utilisation of resources, especially in a country where political and bureaucratic expertise is not available to arbitrate.
The replies of MoD to Parliamentary standing committees on defence indicate that in addition to the four points to depict national security interests, defence planning is predicated on 'defence of the country based on a policy of dissuasion and deterrence. Dissuasive capability envisages the defence of the nation's territory through sufficient and strong defence deployment on the borders to deny the enemy success at crossing the borders'. 24 This includes a defensive deployed force and a counter-offensive component. India has practically if not formally, adopted a doctrine of war prevention from the very beginning. The Panchsheel Agreement, Tashkent Declaration and Simla Agreement are evidence of the doctrine. 25 The strategy per se may be sound, the causes of its failure may lie in its implementation. Kenneth Waltz's truism that 'war prevention may still necessitate a preventive war' needs to be imbibed, because an exclusively defensive approach is to preclude victory. Yet a cross section of our elite believes that it is 'better to save lives than in avenging them,' 26 unfortunately the paradoxical logic of strategy dictates that in 'revenge lies safety' 27 -a lesson that the long drawn proxy war has not taught us. This is confirmed by the Kargil Review Committee Report 28 which states that 'bringing to bear India's assumed conventional superiority was not a serious option in the last ten years'.
On the internal security front George Tanham 29 states that 'India has not developed a coherent internal strategy for domestic law and order and separatist and insurgency problems, or a counter to Pakistan's policy of assisting these separatist movements'. He feels India has 'developed counter insurgency tactics' not an overall strategy.
From the above it is clear that in India the existing Military strategy rests primarily on deterrence (by denial) in consonance with our war prevention doctrine. With this as the core a more effective and clearly articulated strategy needs to be formulated. A strategy that can reconcile the dichotomy India faces and highlighted by the Defence Minister Mr. George Fernandes, 30 who stated that 'India has traditionally pursued a non-aggressive, non provocative defence policy based on the philosophy of defensive defence'. This represents the political doctrine of employing military power. But military efficiency will continue to demand the pursuit of the principle that 'offence is the best means of defence.' In addition to our 'policy of restraint, our philosophy of defensive defence may have been perceived in many quarters as a sign of weakness, as a manifestation of unwillingness to defend ourselves'.
However even the above strategy has not been implemented due to a variety of reasons like:
If 'deterrence' is the key word in our military strategy, a clear understanding of the same is essential. It has been defined as 'a political principle that avails itself of military and other means to persuade an adversary deciding between war and peace to opt for peace, and to dissuade him from war'. 34 By definition it appears to be a suitable macro strategy for India with its status quo ist, peaceful and war prevention focus. But the politico-psychological processs of deterrence, to credibly communicate fear and influence behaviour is also dependent on the adversary's perception of your 'capabilities' and more importantly 'will' in relation to his own risk calculation. Secondly, absurd calculations of deterrent capability or weapons (e.g. nuclear) runs up against the rationality dilemma of disproportionate force for limited objectives. Hence the imperative need to have the credible capability to act rationally across the spectrum of conflict. This deterrent capability cannot rest on deterrence by 'denial' alone. This flexible and useable capability comes under the rubric of deterrence by 'punishment' or its euphemism deterrence by 'retaliation'. This 'additional dimension independent of the denial component is increasingly being used to cover contingencies where mutual deterrence at the nuclear level or use of asymmetric strategies by one side hopes to create a paralysis for action at any substantive level. This restores the freedom of action in a particular violence range for the side with an edge in such capabilities'. 35 Such precise capabilities only can endeavour to overcome the dangers of involuntary escalation especially for nations like India wedded to war prevention strategies. Persuasion by selective destruction aims to push the adversary to the negotiating table without 'victory' or defeat'.
Since war can break out due to international aggression or crisis escalation, such deterrent capabilities also bridge the 'conflict of interest between stability and crisis escalation. If one concentrates only on deterring intentional aggression, one easily takes measures that increase the probability of crisis escalation. In contrast, exclusive emphasis on avoidance of the escalatory dynamics, may weaken deterrence against intentional aggression'. 36
Though 'will' to execute strategy is the key to successful deterrence. But war prevention strategies predicated on deterrence frequently prove to be dangerously brittle and passive. For "if aggressive leaders sense weakness or apathy in the deterring power's position, they may decide to call its bluff'. 37 The Kargil experience is a recent example of deterrence breakdown. Most Pakistani writers blame Indian overreaction for the conflict, as their plans had been based on a belief that we would not have the 'will' for escalation.
This upholds Luttwak's logic 38 that 'military power cannot dissuade or persuade except in so far as its actual use is deemed possible. The possibility is a subject of great metapolitical speculation of the will of leaders and nations'. This can be reduced to simple mathematics in the phenomenon of suasion: the effect of armed forces induced in others depends on their perceived strength multiplied by the perceived willingness to use that strength, and if that willingness is deemed absent, even the strongest forces, whose strength is fully recognised, may not dissuade or persuade at all.
A display of easily provoked bellicosity helps maximise the potential of 'suasion'. But for a country like India wedded to peace and war prevention,' it is not easy. The solution may lie in understanding what Luttwak calls strategy's typical dilemma, the other side of the paradoxical coin, how to maintain a reputation for violence (to enhance suasion) when the aim is to avoid the actual use of force and still protect our interests. 'The usual way out of the dilemma is to present two Janus-like visages, proclaiming both a dedication to peace that rules out all aggression and a great readiness to fight if attacked'. 39 Reaction to smaller provocation's holds the key to demonstrating will, as the less catastrophic action is that much more plausible and credible, contrary to the belief in tolerance thresholds and restraint.
Possible Military Strategy
A brief look at our security challenges had highlighted our possible adversaries, competitors, strategic frontiers and interests. These challenges have to be confronted over a wide spectrum of conflict with its changing dimensions and emphasis. An efficient military strategy that the Army adopts must give it the maximum options with the least expenditure of resources to achieve the desired national and military objectives. Such a strategy must be in consonance with our strategic culture, military doctrine and prowess. As a 'force driver' it should be able to harmoniously fuse existing assets with future acquisitions and structuring.
The paradoxical logic of strategy dictates that our primary adversarial challenges are addressed separately, given their unique strategic cultures, compulsions, capabilities and options. However there are certain commonalities in our approach which are a virtual sine qua non for any option. These are:-
The official 'deterrence' strategy articulated with respect to Pakistan, as a means of war prevention has not succeeded. This is evident from the conflict (including low intensity) thrust upon us. Without a comprehensive national security mechanism to fashion) proactive responses and demonstrate 'will', deterrence has proved to be 'brittle' and 'passive' as TM Kane 46 predicted in another context. Our formulations have neither recognised the paradoxical logic of strategy or the adversaries strategic culture and risk profile. One bland formulation cannot fit all contingencies and adapt to major changes in the conflict continuum and induction of nuclear weapons into the subcontinent. Pakistans strategy on the other hand is tailored specifically to target our weaknesses and negate/avoid our strengths. Pakistan seeks to:-
The fact that they have not succeeded in their larger design is of little comfort for our war prevention strategy. The failure is primarily rooted in their misconceptions both of their own capabilities and their understanding of our will, potential and resilience. Even after the latest round at Kargil, with the Pakistan economy on a 'drip' from donor nations and politically a failed state, the lessons have not been learned. Their measure of success is that in their 'jehad', for 'every rupee spent the Indian state has to spend 33'. 48 Secondly their widely held belief as articulated by Lt Gen Javed Nasir (Ex DG ISI) 49 that the Indian Army is tired of its counter insurgency commitments for 'like Leukaemia counter insurgency operations need blood which India no longer has in reserve-(thus) I say with all the authority and professionalism that the Indian Army is incapable of undertaking any conventional operations at present, what to a talk of enlarging conventional conflict'. Similar views were also expressed by Lt Gen FS Lodi 50 based on his figures that 203 out of 365 infantry battalions are on insurgency duties and 37 per cent of the infantry is in Kashmir, "the Indian army was now further denuding its conventional capability by using mechanised and air defence units for counter insurgency duties'.
Such miscalculation and insensitivity to risks, is a trait rooted in cultural and historical factors of the Pakistani elite in general and the army in particular. Given the unsatisfactory state of the nation, General Musharraf (the latest face of this elite) is likely to follow the Pakistani stereotype that hopes to maximise the likelihood of major success than to maximise the likelihood of at least limited gains. This megalomaniacal ambition and bluster have been a recurringly demonstrated trait.
Hence our range of options have to be predicated on full spectrum superiority or dominance as under:-
A possible scenario could be that on provocation a joint services blockade/encirclement of Pakistan is put in place (to the extent possible). A controlled and calibrated application of punishment is administered. The air dimension and other precision long range weapons are the tools of first choice. Escalation commensurate to the provocation or the scale necessary to influence behaviour is applied. The land offensive (if necessary) must have suitable objectives targeting the Pakistani centre of gravity. Grandiose division of provinces or cutting the North-South communications 56 may only be feasible if it is concerted with the internal dynamics of Pakistan. The primary aim of deployment is to act in the psychological dimension, with a readiness to escalate till the limited conflict termination objectives are achieved.
The strategy against China is more defensive and frequently referred to as dissuasive, which has been articulated as territorial defence with a counter-offensive component. 57 To remove any semantic ambiguity, it is the same as 'deterrence by denial' and needs to be referred to as such. With the Chinese focus presently on 'modernisation' and the need for a peace interlude, the same has not been adquately tested. But the vulnerabilities if any would primarily remain in implementation and demonstration of 'will' which is a vital component of deterrence, of which perception and psychological orientation are important ingredients. Thus responses akin to 'Nathula' and 'Sumdrongchu' may be more appropriate than the pussy footing attributed to not challenging some Chinese intrusions. 58 The Chinese ambiguity on the LAC and straying of patrols, is a designed and calibrated exercise to test our response. Our good intentioned reactions are likely to convey the wrong signals and thus needs to be thought through in advance and disseminated as policy, to avoid soft options, which are our forte in crisis situations.
Though the Chinese challenge is presently indirect and proxy and thus its responses are primarily in the political, diplomatic domain. Our ability to counter these successfully over time, may bring in more visible military challenges, in which 'teaching lessons' and 'border war' are frequently used expressions in the Chinese lexicon of inter state relations, which need appropriate responses.
Our defence posture in 'deterrence by denial' needs to be underpinned by a strong counter offensive complement, suitably structured with the requisite wherewithal to target certain Chinese vulnerabilities, primarily in Tibet-for better dividends. At the strategic level a robust and credible deterrent is essential to strike a balance between the need to avoid excessive expenditure on conventional capabilities to match China and too little, which may expose our vulnerabilities where the strategic deterrent is not credible and lower the nuclear threshold even where it is. Conventional capabilities should be such that we do not have to shift from conventional to nuclear weapons out of weakness.
We need to shape and influence events in the subcontinent and the northern Indian Ocean, commensurate with our leadership role and engage in a more cooperative, partnership and 'burden sharing' role over the remainder of our strategic frontiers. With military power underpinning diplomatic initiatives, it is essential to have cooperative military training arrangements with nations of the region, having common interest and sharing a similar vision.
The Internal Security strategy needs to be hinged on prevention, protection, prediction (intelligence) and reaction. The essence, import and proactive options lie in the first three, but since these are primarily in the government and the paramilitary forces domain and not army or military 'force drivers', it is not covered here. The Army's primary internal security commitment is agaist insurgencies which are beyond the capabilities of the para military forces and directly linked to cross border terrorism/proxy war. The army (services) strategy must focus its responses on the external sponsors (with good intelligence) so as to target the cause and not the effect. In addition only the services have the responsibility and the necessary capabilities to tackle the external dimension. It must not let its demonstrated efficiency and expertise in the tactical counter insurgency response dissipate its resources from the primary target.
The military reaction should be in conformity with the military strategy of 'deterrence' and here only 'deterrence by punishment' is relevant and credible. Some imaginative strategies are available to the government to inflict the requisite retributive pain. In the military domain, instrumentalities have to be sharp and 'surgical', to nuance the requisite options. There are no 'tolerance thresholds' (which tend to be pushed) as 'deterrence' must rest on the certainty of response, be it 'retaliatory' or 'preemptive', when mischief is imminent.
Such precise and 'discriminate' options can only succeed if they are linked to the primary military strategy of deterrence and war prevention. For if the escalation ladder is denied the higher rungs (options) the strategy is not credible and paradoxically it is only the availability of these options that cap the escalatory dynamics. The fine calibration of our response would be aimless, if the termination strategy is not in our hand and an adversary would be ready to match our escalation (or even go beyond as in Kargil), given our 'inability' or 'will' to run the course. A declaratory policy not only communicates 'will', but more importantly in our context strengthens resolve.
The Line of Control (LC) strategy has to be interwoven into our LIC or cross border terrorism response. The adversary must not be allowed to compartmentalise the two. However, the LC strategy must not be reduced to aimless and counter productive tactical violence-shelling and counter shelling of fixed defences. The method in the madness must be clear for the adversary to decipher, if deterrence is to succeed. Credible escalation domination may be the key.
Military strategy is the primary 'force driver', but the relationship is by no means linear and directly derivative, it is more interactive and mutually supportive dependent. However, since strategy must incorporate all factors, hence the force structure that emerges would be a product of efficient utilisation of resources, giving us the requisite military capability to meet our objectives. Analysis of the chosen strategy indicates that the 'force drivers' and specific capabilities required, fall under three interlocking layers of force missions i.e. shaping, deterring and responding. The important capabilities flowing out of this strategy are:-
'Hitting without holding' 59 in place of the old 'holding and hitting' (hammer and anvil), possible due to superior knowledge and control of information.
The broad 'force drivers' are adequate to follow the logic and direction at the macro level. However decomposing these into building blocks which can then be examined for cost effectiveness by comparing the various options to achieve each goal needs rigorous scholarly endeavour before decision-making. For example, the need to conduct an early counter offensive can be decomposed as shown in Figure 1 below. 61 Each decomposed segment has more than one option to achieve its goals. These can be compared using decision support systems like the RAND developed 'Dyna Rank'. 62 It is simple to run on Microsoft Excel and it uses a hierarchical scorecard to rank options by cost effectiveness.
Military strategy as we have seen is a vital determinant for force structure planning, it incorporates all relevant inputs like aim (national objectives) challenges, resources constraints and military doctrine and prowess. Its paradoxical logic and adaptation to a changing environment, ensures its dynamic nature. However, its real efficacy like most other human endeavour, lies not in the tools (force structure) it helps fashion, but in its efficient and faithful implementation. The most profound recent change has been the nuclearisation of the subcontinent, which must now recognise Liddel Hart's assessment that "the nuclear factor has rendered absurd the method of 'total war' and 'victory' as a war aim." So while past wars in the subcontinent have been limited by choice, future wars will be limited as an imperative, Humphrey Hawksley not withstanding.
Note 26: President Ronald Reagan, Speech on Defence Spending and Defensive Technologies, March 23, 1983 cited by Laurence Freedom, Adelphi Paper 224, (International Institute for Strategic Studies 1987) p. 10. Back.
Note 32: K.P.S. Gill, "The Dangers Within: Internal Security Threats" in Bharat Karnad (ed.) Future Imperilled: India's Security in the 1990s and Beyond (New Delhi, India: Viking-Penguin, 1994). Back.
Note 60: Michael L. Brown, "The Revolution in Military Affairs: The Information Dimension," in Cyberwar: Security, Strategy and Conflict in the Information Age: ed Allan D. Campen, Douglas H. Dearth, R. Thomas Goodderso (New Delhi: Book Mark Publishers) pp. 39-40. Back.