A recent article titled 'Lessons from Russia for India' by Harsh V. Pant & Kartik Bommakanti compelled me to write this piece.
Russian-Ukraine war has given a wrong idea of future wars. Wrong lessons have flooded the strategic market. Analysts forget that a tiger and a deer cannot be compared. Unfortunately, this is what was done while drawing irrelevant lessons from the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Arguably, before drawing a true lesson, a distinction has to be made between two 'Militarily Equal' belligerents and 'Militarily unequal' opponents. Imagine, if Ukraine had nuclear weapons, would Russia have dared to invade Ukraine? It is a scenario of militarily unequal opponents. Though USA and the West support Ukraine but they cannot actively intervene because of fear of Russian weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
One thing lacking in most of these articles was that they miss the woods for the trees. They have not understood the impact of technology and revolutions on weapon systems. The main effect of technology and Revolutions in Military Affairs (RMA) is to make paradigm shift in the doctrine of war making. Wrong lessons are drawn when context is lopsided. Tanks, guns and fighter ACs were not entirely redundant but they have been turned ineffective in a war involving 'Mutually Equal' belligerents.
In the case of belligerent nations being 'Militarily Unequals,' tanks, guns and fighter ACs are still very effective. In the case of technologically backward belligerent nations of Africa and even some parts of Asia, tanks and guns are the primary tools of war making. In the nuclear overhang, most European nations, barring France and UK, fall into militarily unequal category as compared to Russia. Most enjoy protection under the NATO umbrella. No wonder Finland and Swedon are seeking NATO membership. Even Ukraine had clamoured for it but Russia did not give it a chance.
Also, analysts must note that 'War Zones' between 'Militarily Equal Nations' have shifted from 'Land' to 'Space' and 'Seas.' The objective of war was not to annex territorial assets but total annihilation of adversary. 'Fronts' and 'Rears' of wars have disappeared. War is a matrix of brains and technology. Muscles have gone out of power. RMAs and Technology engine has transformed the concept of war.
In the context of the above, the concept of 'Designer War' is emerging — which is a war without rules. It is an age old concept of winning a war without firing a bullet —as Sun Tzu would have said that the acme of skill was not to carve out a victory in hundred battles but to win without firing a bullet . In so doing , War by Other Means (WOM) has gained importance. Its best example was use of Ukraine by the USA and West. Do not forget the use of Pakistan by USA in war in Afghanistan against Russia. And if I may add USA strategic partnership with India stinks of the same philosophy to use India against China. This is another form of WOM in the Designer War frame work.
Therefore the above referred article was inconclusive because it did not draw proper conclusions from RMA and Technology interaction. The author's forgot the essence of Von Clausewitz’s quote: War in every period has its own strategy and weaponry.
So, it is in 21st Century. Forget about monkey dancing of soldiers across borders — COVID type weapon is enough to send adversary soldiers to eternal sleep. This was what was under operation in Mariupol in Ukraine in the under - ground tunnel—24 Km Long. New bionic soldiers and biological weapons were being researched in this laboratory.
Wars are no more going to be brute force application but brain force usage. Most military and non-military analysts have not understood this in their advice to India.
About The Author
Col. Rajinder Kushwaha is an ex-NDA, commissioned into 3 Bihar. He is a battle-hardened veteran who served in ’71 War & has operated extensively in various insurgency environs across the country. He is a renowned author, and a highly respected defence & national security expert writing for several reputed publications such as ‘Defence and Security Alert’ (DSA), the ‘Indian Defence Review’ (IDR) among others. You can reach him on Twitter: @RajeeKushwaha, Email ID: [email protected]
(Views expressed are the authors own, and do not reflect the editorial policy of 'Mission Victory India')